A northwest Las Vegas Little League said more than $6,000 in equipment was stolen during a burglary this week.
“It’s incredibly frustrating because we’re three weeks from the end of the season,” Mountain Ridge Little League President Jimmy Belanger said Friday. “Usually we break out the scoreboards and audio equipment for starting lineups and the national anthem for playoff games. It’ll be really difficult. It wont stop their season from going through, but it does put a little bit of damper on the end of the season.”
Belanger said when a volunteer arrived at 4:45 p.m. Thursday to open the snack bar, she found the deadbolt unlocked. Audio equipment, scoreboard controllers, a defibrillator, sweatshirts, cash and snacks were missing. Belanger estimated the loss at $6,500.
“That wasn’t high-end equipment, but it meant a lot to us,” he said.
This fall, some 470 kids between 4 and 16 years old gather weekly for games at Mountain Ridge Park, 7151 Oso Blanca Road.
An online fundraiser organized by parents was set up Friday night in hopes of recovering some of the costs. Organizer Kelly McCabe wrote in the post that the league’s rules only allow one child-directed fundraiser annually.
“Many families consider Mountain Ridge to be a second home,” McCabe wrote. “This robbery is absolutely heartbreaking! With playoffs only a few weeks away, the league is desperate to replace what was taken.”
Belanger said he filed a police report and plans to file an insurance claim. The park, which is operated by the city of Las Vegas, does not have security cameras. In a statement Friday, Belanger wrote that the team is grateful for the police involved in the investigation.
“We would like to shine the light on the increased crime in our valley, as well as helping our league with raising funds to re-purchase the items we lost,” he wrote. “We would also like to extend our gratitude and appreciation to our local Heroes, our Law Enforcement Officers who are doing an outstanding job in our city every single day. We appreciate all they do to keep us safe.”
Data from the Metropolitan Police Department shows burglaries are up 15 percent in northwest Las Vegas compared with this time last year.
Parent registration fees cover about 80 percent of the league’s expenses. The rest comes from two annual fundraisers and concessions.
A 2014 Mountain Ridge team made Las Vegas history when it was named the U.S. champion of the Little League World Series, after a Chicago team was dethroned for using ineligible players.