Thieves Return Youth Football Team's Trailer, Empty
CLOVIS, Calif. (KMPH) —
"Everything you'd need to run a football team was pretty much in there," Julian Bailey, West Clovis Youth Football League President, said.
Bailey always keeps the trailer full of equipment for the Clovis Eagles football team in the same place.
"It had all of our practice gear, cones, ladders, everything we use for the kids during practice. All of my first aid equipment, all of my water jugs," Bailey said.
So when he went to get it on Saturday morning, he couldn't believe what he didn't see.
"It's a lot like when you go to your faucet and the water doesn't work. And it always worked before then. You're just shocked. You look twice, you look three times," he said.
The West Clovis Youth Football League is made up of about 85 first through sixth graders.
They were set to play their first game of the season the same day the thieves struck.
"Couldn't really stop, we had games all morning long. So I just borrowed everything from Buchanan that day and we went about our business that day," Bailey said.
It's the kind of resilience the kids have grown accustomed to, after their teammate, seven-year-old Donovan Maldonado was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver about a month ago.
"This, and I don't want to downplay this because this hurt, but in the scheme of things for our team, this is nothing," Bailey said.
Julian says Donovan's dad even reached out to him last weekend.
"Jesse called on Sunday when he found out that the trailer was (taken) and asked how he could help. It's that kind of people that we deal with. This guy has lost everything and he still wants to help," Bailey said.
On the other side of the spectrum, are the thugs responsible.
Images from a nearby business' security camera show a white SUV dropping the empty trailer back off Wednesday morning.
"I was elated. It was going to be a big expense to replace this. To replace this was going to be $3,000 or $4,000. The equipment inside, I was disappointed. I couldn't figure out why somebody would want a bunch of football equipment. But just having the trailer back and being able to carry the stuff again was a big help," Bailey said.
And to those responsible, Bailey has a message.
"Get some help with that drug habit of yours, because that drug habit is costing a lot more than just yourself. It's pretty heartless. A lot of people in our organization were pretty hurt by what they did. And it's going to take us a while to recover," he said.
One thing that was taken from the trailer is pretty unique, and the team hopes it can help find the thieves who took their stuff.
There was a custom-designed shield that has the logo for the league.
It's one of a kind.
If you've seen the shield, or know anything about who might have the team's equipment, you're asked to call the Fresno Police Department at 559-621-7000.
If you'd like to help out the team, you can contact the league's secretary, Tamara Sanders, at 559-942-6203.