DOVER – They took everything they could carry away—right down to the chinstraps.
Officials, coaches, parents and volunteers are attempting to recover team losses after thieves broke into the concession stand and two storage buildings at William Owens Pass Sports Complex in Dover. Between Aug. 6 and 7, they stole around $7,500 worth of concession stand products and athletic gear from the Dover Youth Sports and Activities League. Items stolen include the cash register in the concession stand with money inside, $500 worth of candy, 50 cases of Gatorade and Pepsi products, five to six cases of hot dogs and hamburgers, and two coolers valued at $200 each.
The theft also included football cleats, cheer shoes, fundraiser shirts, a laptop computer, and boxes containing chinstraps and mouthpieces. Dawn Pennachiette, president of the Dover Youth Sports and Activities League, explained that the league is still counting it’s losses from the theft.
“You think you’ve got everything but then you go to use something and it’s not there,” she said.
Pennachiette described the loss as a huge blow to the team since they rely heavily on money raised from the concession stand to fund them throughout the year.
“A $7,500 blow for a nonprofit is huge,” she said. “The concession stand is probably about 70 percent of our income.”
Not only did the league lose a substantial amount of equipment, but the money stolen from the concession stand meant that when home games began Aug. 17, there was little funding to begin the season with.
“When the robbery happened, we hadn’t even started yet. We were just practicing, which was why it was such a huge blow,” she said.
Pennachiette says they are relying on credit and buying products as needed from day to day.
“We’ve had a parent donate $500,” she said. “And two complete strangers gave us $1500. That helped mainly with the groceries, which you can’t really buy on credit.”
Attempts to replace the stolen athletic gear have been more difficult for the league, which provides football and cheer teams for children between the ages of 4 and 15.
“Right now, we do not have any extra mouthpieces or chinstraps,” Pennachiette said.
Since the burglary the team and league officials have rallied to rebuild.
“Because we’re 100 percent volunteer, there are kids who have grown up here and this is their only positive outlet,” Pennachiette said. “It really affected them because they felt like they had been personally stolen from, but since then it’s really brought our organization together.”
She added that parents and coaches have helped with cleaning up the concession stand, which was ransacked during the burglary, and making repairs to the buildings where the locks had been broken and the screens in the windows torn down.
“Even the kids have been up here helping to clean up,” Pennachiette said.
To contact the Dover Patriots football program, email Dawn Pennachiette at [email protected]