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Donors knock it out of the park after Little League robbery

Updated October 26, 2021 - 10:37 pm

A northwest Las Vegas Little League organization will overcome the recent theft of about $6,500 worth of equipment thanks to an online fundraising effort that raised more than twice that amount, the league’s president said Tuesday.

“I’m a lifelong resident, and this just reminds me of why I love living here,” Jimmy Belanger said of the Las Vegas Valley’s outpouring of support of the Mountain Ridge Little League in the aftermath of the burglary.

Belanger said a volunteer arrived at 4:45 p.m. Thursday at the league’s fields at Mountain Ridge Park to open the snack bar and found the deadbolt unlocked with audio equipment, scoreboard controllers, a defibrillator, sweatshirts, cash and snacks missing.

The league said the burglary happened overnight between Oct. 20-21. A request for more information from Las Vegas police was pending Tuesday morning.

“That wasn’t high-end equipment, but it meant a lot to us,” Belanger said, adding that the league serves some 470 kids between 4 and 16 years old.

Belanger said after the theft a GoFundMe page seeking donations was set up.

“Many families consider Mountain Ridge to be a second home,” organizers wrote on the page. “This robbery is absolutely heartbreaking! With playoffs only a few weeks away, the league is desperate to replace what was taken. Anything you can spare would be greatly appreciated.”

Belanger said what followed was a wave of generosity. As of Tuesday, 68 donors had pledged $16,125, which was well above the stated fundraising goal of $6,500. One individual donated $10,000. Many others donated far smaller amounts ranging from $20 to $100.

“As we begin the work of replacing the stolen equipment, our volunteer staff is also aware that we are stewards of your generous donations,” the league said in a written statement. “Our commitment to the community is to ensure that donations collected through the GoFundMe site that exceed our equipment replacement costs will be used to directly benefit our children participating in our program.”

The statement thanked all donors, noting the GoFundMe page will be taken down due to its success.

“Once again, Las Vegas has proven itself to be a caring and resilient community ready to answer the call for help at a moment’s notice,” the league said. “This experience has been a humbling and uplifting experience and reinforces what it means to be Vegas Strong!”

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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