HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The Cardinals youth football and cheer league helps children in Thonotosassa both on and off the field.
“We keep them out of the streets, we keep them busy, whether it’s on the field or in our portable, learning,” said league athletic director Carlos Adams.
Adams and the league president on Saturday night made a disturbing discovery when they opened an equipment storage area.
“We opened up the equipment room and it was in complete shambles. We had helmets off the shelves, we had shoulder pads everywhere,” said Adams.
According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, equipment including 25 shoulder pads and 10 football helmets were removed. The stolen equipment is valued at more than $2,500.
” I know some helmets, some shoulder pads, yard markers were taken. I’m pretty sure as we dive in deeper, we’re going to find some more missing equipment,” said Adams.
All of the money to buy the equipment is raised through fundraisers and donations. The loss is especially devastating for the children of the league and their families who worked to raise the money.
“It directly impacts the kids, the ones that we are sweating to keep out the streets, mentoring them,” said Adams.
Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister wants these thieves brought to justice.
“They are left not only wondering who is responsible for this crime but also trying to figure out how they will participate in a sport that they love,” Chronister said
The league has set up a GoFundMe account to pay for the loss of the equipment.