After theft, SYAA receives aid

Published 10:13 pm Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Suffolk Youth Athletic Association’s boardroom and concession stand were vandalized and around $1,000 was stolen, along with hundreds more in food and products.

The damage and theft were discovered on Wednesday afternoon. But people and organizations in the community have been quick to help.

Six-year-old SYAA athlete Christopher Ursery looks on as the vandalized SYAA boardroom/concession stand is taped off on Thursday.

Six-year-old SYAA athlete Christopher Ursery looks on as the vandalized SYAA boardroom/concession stand is taped off on Thursday.

SYAA treasurer Geoff Payne said the association has dealt with vandalism before, but “not on this scale.”

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Most of the doors to the building at 501 Kings Fork Road, which contains the concession stand downstairs and boardroom upstairs, were kicked open. Stolen items included a drop safe with at least $750 and elsewhere an estimated several hundreds of dollars in cash, in SYAA gear and in food.

Food was slung about inside the concession stand, and supplies were strewn about outside on fields and even near the road.

Carpenter said police indicated the intruders had attempted to set the place on fire.

He also learned that SYAA was not the only athletic association in the area affected. The Windsor Athletic Association and Smithfield Recreation Association experienced similar incidents.

“All three associations were hit on Tuesday night,” WAA president James Holt said.

He said intruders rifled through the WAA concession stand and broke into its boardroom, stealing two new public address systems.

“In all, they did about $450 worth of damage with what they stole and what they broke,” Holt said.

“It’s disheartening to see something like this, especially when this place is non-profit,” Carpenter said.

But support for SYAA in its time of need has been overwhelming, as Carpenter’s phone rang persistently on Thursday with offers of help.

Moe’s Southwest Grill, an SYAA sponsor, will be coming out to the fields on Saturday, running a taco bar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in lieu of the concession stand.

The $750 in the drop safe had been raised by SYAA for one of its longtime players, Jordan White, who went into cardiac arrest during practice at Sluggers Batting Cages and Pro Shop back in April at only 14 years of age.

He survived due to the timely efforts of two nurses who happened to be on hand.

Great Neck Athletic Association notified SYAA on Thursday that its board had approved a donation of $750 to replace the money and $250 on top of that.

Carpenter said he was almost brought to tears by this generosity.

Noting all the support coming in, Payne said, “We’re going to get more money than we’re going to lose.” Not looking to profit on the situation, SYAA will be making careful decisions on how to proceed, he said.

He, too, expressed his gratitude for outpouring of local support.

“We put (in) a lot of effort for the community, and now the community’s giving back,” he said.