KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A burglar targeted a youth sports complex – breaking into a maintenance shed and stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment.
The crime comes just weeks before the fall season kicks off at Raytown Soccer Club (RSC) near 350 Highway and Noland Road.
RSC is a non-profit youth organization established nearly 50 years ago that offers a wide range of soccer programs to develop players of all levels and abilities, from the ages of 5 to 16.
Sometime this weekend, the complex's maintenance shed was broken into and burglarized.
“Our Gator was parked at the far end down here and they got away with it completely,” said Valerie Ratterman, office manager for RSC. “I don`t know if they had a trailer, or what they used to get it off the property.”
The $6,000 Gator is now gone, along with thousands of dollars’ worth of other equipment all used to maintain the fields.
“We had some metal detectors taken that we use,” Ratterman said. “We had a leaf blower taken. We had a compressor and an impact wrench, gas cans, just a bunch of random things.”
Ratterman said all of the stolen equipment is used daily by a groundskeeper to maintain the soccer fields.
“Right now, it’s kind of slowed us down,” she said. “We`re getting ready to start the season and so we have a lot of things that need to be done.”
The burglary has forced them to change all the locks and amp up security with surveillance cameras, which has cost hundreds of dollars.
“It’s just disheartening that we work really hard to provide such a good service for kids,” Ratterman said. “We want kids to come down here and play, that’s the most important thing.”
“It`s just interesting to see the family dynamic down here and to have that kind of obstructed by a crime like this and a stealing – it’s just unfortunate. It`s just really, really sad.”
The season will go on as planned, but it's an unexpected hard hit to a non-profit organization run by volunteers and focused on helping kids.
“This is kind of like a second home for a lot of us,” Ratterman said, “and so it`s almost like your house getting broken into, you feel a little bit violated. It`s just unfortunate that somebody would try and take advantage of something like that.”
She’s now delivering a message to those responsible…
“I would just say, ‘Don’t pick on the people who are trying to do good,’” she said.
Police dusted for fingerprints and found several other pieces of evidence they hope will lead them to the criminals.
If you know anything, you can help them by calling Crime Stoppers at (816) 474-TIPS.