A non-profit football team on Vancouver Island is feeling the crunch after high-end equipment was stolen.
Vancouver Island Raiders general manager Josh Williams says the incident happened overnight on Aug. 31 at Caledonia Park. He says the theft was not a quick grab and run, and multiple pieces of expensive equipment were taken.
“The major things were the telecommunication headsets, tents, 12 brand new helmets off the wall, 30 sets of shoulder pads, a whole box of balls,” said Williams. “The list goes on and on.”
Williams estimates the total loss to be around $50,000. He adds a lot of the equipment will not be able to be sold at a pawn shop, but he also cannot go buy them at a local store.
The team still has to finish the season and go into the playoffs. Williams says they are fortunate to still have some of their gear and the next games are at home.
“We’re just kinda telling guys to take care of their equipment better than they ever have and we’re just gonna have to string out these last few games of the season to limp by.”
The situation is a tricky one for the non-profit, as Williams says it will take them a long time to recover from this theft.
He adds this is not the first theft to happen for the team, with one happening just over a year ago.
“Even that one was about $15,000 worth of just practice stuff, so it took us some fundraising and some sponsors just to recover that stuff,” said Williams. “For something like this to happen within the past 12 months again, it’s just a major financial hit.”
Williams recalls a fire that he says was set at one of the coaches’ towers at Caledonia Park a couple of months ago.
He says they are at a crossroads to how they will recover.
“It’s different when you’re trying to grow and build something but now we’re at the point where [we’re asking] do we do all this fundraising and replace everything and be awesome and all set up to only have this happen again,” said Williams.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the team, but Williams says it will take a lot of community backing for them to recover from the loss.