While Little Leaguers in Kentucky were trying to enjoy their Fourth of July weekend, a thief broke into their park and stole everything that wasn’t nailed down.
Tommy Parker, vice president of the Blue Lick Optimist Little League, and his wife were going to grab some water for their players before practice Saturday morning at Challis Ford Park in Louisville when they saw the chains securing the concession stand had been cut.
After looking around, they realized they had been robbed. Candy, a four-wheeler and over 100 baseballs were stolen, and whoever the thief was wanted to make sure they weren’t caught, as they destroyed the security cameras surrounding the facility.According to Parker, the amount of equipment lost totaled around $5,000, and it isn’t the first time that someone has stolen from the park.
“We actually had a four-wheeler stolen three or four years ago,” Parker said. “It was a nicer four-wheeler than this one and we couldn’t afford at the time to replace it … so we had to go in on the cheaper one.
“We’ve had (two) trailers that we put on the four-wheelers stolen in the last 10 years. We’ve had kids break into the concession and steal candy, destroy the hot dog machine and those kinds of things, but the last few times it hasn’t been vandalism so much as just thievery.”
The largeness of the 23-acre park, along with how secluded it is, make it an easy target for would-be thieves trying to make a quick buck. Police told Parker that they would increase their patrols in the area, but don’t have any leads on who the thief (or thieves) could be.
Blue Lick owns the park and fields, and therefore have to pay their own property taxes. With the bills going up and Little League enrollment going down, they can’t afford to keep replacing equipment.
“We don’t have a whole lot of resources to do more than what we already do,” Parker said. “We’ll put up another security system and find a way to secure it so that it won’t get stolen, but we aren’t a city-owned park … we have to pay our own property taxes, our own water bill our own electric bill. Enrollment is down and the funds aren’t coming in.”
In order to help replace what was stolen, Blue Lick set up a GoFundMe page for anyone who wants to donate. According to their Facebook page, “The money raised will go directly toward replacing and repairing the things that were stolen and damaged …This is solely to support the operations of our park and support the youth in our community.”
Parker’s main concern is with the kids and how the robberies can affect their world view. He wanted to make sure that his players had a clear understanding of what was going on.
“We’re all very close, the kids know what’s going on. They’re frustrated and they feel it, they feel that they’ve been stolen from and cheated.
“You have to spend a few minutes of practice talking to the kids (telling them) ‘The world has bad people in it, but there’s good people, too. Just stay on the right path and be one of the good ones.'”