LAKE ELSINORE (CBSLA) – A little league snack bar, used for storing game equipment and merchandise during the pandemic, has repeatedly been broken into and vandalized over the past month and a half, forcing young athletes off their home field.
Kids who should be playing baseball at Swick-Matich Park are instead at a different Lake Elsinore field after three break-ins at their home field concession stand.READ MORE: Spirit Airlines’ Massive Flight Cancellation Debacle Enters Fourth Day
“I watch my little brother play on that field. I take my sister to the snack bar,” little league player Andrew Garcia said. “So, to see the damage, it sucks.”
Within the last 45 days, suspects have broken in, smeared food and drinks over the floors and walls. Two pitching machines valued at $1,700 each, as well as expensive kitchen equipment, has been stolen.
To add insult to injury, suspects have also urinated and defecated on the team’s all-star jerseys, all of which had to be thrown away.
“Honestly, it’s kind of disgusting,” Garcia said.
The league’s grill master and player agent, Keone Milbauer, said vandals have so far racked up about $15,000 in damage, adding that it’s heartbreaking to see people donating time and money and it’s all sacrificed by someone else on a whim.READ MORE: 3 Killed, 2 Injured In Fiery Wreck In Burbank; Street Racing May Be To Blame
The break-ins and destruction have also come at a time when the kids made it to the state championships and have been winning at local tournaments.
“They’re doing fantastic,” Milbauer said. “Our district 28 rep is in the winner’s bracket for the division we’re in right now. It’s been really awesome.”
District 28 Administrator Richard Paseno said local families spent hours helping them clean up and have donated whatever they can to keep the games going.
“Everybody realizes that something like that could have happened to any one of us. So, everybody’s stepping up and doing their part,” Paseno said.
Lake Elsinore Little League has setup a GoFundMe campaign in hopes of replacing what was stolen and repairing what’s been damaged.
“If I went up to my little brother and said, ‘Hey, someone’s gonna give you $15,000 to help with your baseball field, he’d be crying,” Garcia said. “He’d be the happiest kid alive.”MORE NEWS: CVS To Increase Hourly Minimum Wage To $15