Thieves vandalize, steal thousands of dollars worth of equipment from Little League park

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - Running bases, hanging out in the dugout and cheering in the stands are sounds people normally hear at the Mishawaka Little League baseball park.

What you don’t often hear is someone breaking into the ballpark, stealing thousands of dollars worth of equipment and vandalizing it -- until now.

“They took all of our lawn equipment, all of our tools, they got into the baseball equipment, the equipment that we provide for the kids that can’t necessarily afford it themselves,” Mishawaka Little League President Suzanne Troyer said Friday.

Every field you walk by, more vandalism appears. Spray-painted walls, broken locks and a broken garage door are just some of the things that will need to be repaired, but if you ask former Mishawaka Little Leaguer Robert Bettie what is most upsetting, it’s this:

“There was a group of kids who sold candy bars and parents who worked hard to buy the equipment to keep this particular park open and in good shape," he said. "For somebody to come in to steal that, it’s just wrong."

Instead being able to use their own equipment to maintain the park, the league now has to borrow equipment from others willing to share, with hope that the fields will be ready for next season.

“We need to be ready by April. If we are not able to restore everything, we’ll have to go somewhere else,” Troyer says.

Troyer says there are 67 children who need a place to play next season if the park cannot be repaired in time.

If you want to help or donate to the Mishawaka Little League, you can contact Troyer at 574-485-6255 or by email at suziqsqts@gmail.com.