ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Thieves got away with more than $20,000 worth of equipment from a pair of Albuquerque little leagues. The recent thefts have left both leagues and the city asking for donations with opening day coming up next month. It’s already been a tough year for the league considering they had to cancel their 2020 season. However, this has some people flat-out angry.
“What you guys took from us may not mean much to you, but it means everything to us,” said Neal Santa Cruz, president of Alameda Little League. “It means everything to the kids that are down the street. You guys have taken more than just baseballs.”
Story continues below
Santa Cruz said thieves broke into their equipment building through the roof early in the morning on March 11. Where they came in, trashed the place, and stole nearly $20,000 worth of equipment. That included a pitching machine, baseballs, catcher’s gear, bats, and equipment for maintaining the fields.
Unfortunately, they weren’t the only little league hit. Jessica Campbell with the City’s Parks and Recreation Department said Westgate Little League also had about $5,000 worth of theft and damage at their fields back on February 27.
Campbell said help is on the way after the city created a donation page through the One Albuquerque Fund where they’ll collect donations and the city will contribute matching funds of up to $10,000 dollars to help these kids get back to playing ball.
“It’s a great opportunity for people around Albuquerque to get involved, pitch in, and lift up these kids and get them back on the field this summer,” said Campbell. The city plans on adding more fencing and lighting around little league fields to help stop these crimes in the future. The little league season starts up in mid-April.
A spokesperson with the Albuquerque Police Department said they would greatly appreciate the public’s assistance if they have any information into the theft at the Alameda Little League Fields, or if they may have witnessed what happened. APD said they currently don’t have many leads and if the public has any information, to call APD. The spokesperson said she would look into the status of the Westgate Little League case.