Thousands stolen from Raytown track club before Junior Olympics

RAYTOWN, Mo. -- Twenty-eight athletes from Raytown's The Doors AAU track club have qualified to go to the Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa later this month. But at least $7,000 meant for registration and uniforms has disappeared. No one realized as quickly as the kids were running, someone was draining the club’s bank account.

"It didn’t get noticed until it was too late, until it was empty," Coach Herb Martin said.

“It was one of those things you didn’t see coming, it hurt him, it hurt me," Coach Byron Von Leggett said.

The coaches suspect it was someone affiliated with the club who hasn’t been seen at practice since.  $7,000 in meet and uniform fees paid by parents had been deposited to the account. The club estimates as much as $3,000 more in cash was simply pocketed. The discovery was made as the team was about to head to Junior Olympic Qualifiers in Joplin, Missouri.

“Myself and the other coach had to sit in front of the kids and parents and let them know what happened," Martin said.

The uniform company agreed to give the team their uniforms while waiting for payment.  Parents and coaches came together to replace money designated for the registration fees. 28 of the 36 members of the team ended up qualifying for the AAU Junior Olympics.

Now the coaches are hoping for some sort of sponsorship to ease the pocketbooks of parents already shouldering the burden.

“One way or another we are going to get to Nationals," Martin said.

It's one last hurdle to clear as the coaches are now giving the students as many lessons about life as they are speed.

"It actually may help us grow as an organization, if nothing else it brought us together," Von Leggett said.

The theft has been reported to police.