The thieves who stole the aluminum bleacher seats from the Julien Elementary ballpark may have damped the spirits of the Turlock American Little League, but recent actions from the Turlock Associated Police Officers and Turlock Firefighters Local #2434 have renewed their faith in the community at large.
The police and fire fighter unions are contributing the funds to have the bleachers seats replaced, while Denair Lumber has agreed to sell the Little League the materials needed at cost.
“Yesterday we were feeling pretty down and today we are feeling very fortunate,” said Justin Crone, one of the Little League’s coaches.
Thieves stole the aluminum bleacher seats from the Little League’s baseball park on N. Johnson Road sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The thieves took 10 of the 20-foot long aluminum bleachers, plus the railings.
The Little League installed the bleachers about three years ago at an estimated cost of $8,000.
With opening day set for March 1, the Little League had serious doubts on whether they would have spots for people to sit.
“The kids were very upset that their parents wouldn’t be able to watch them play because there were no seats,” Crone said. “It broke my heart.”
When the unions saw the news of the thefts, they knew it was a project they wanted to get behind, said TAPO board member Detective Jason Tosta.
“We support Turlock Little League and the impact they have on the young people in the community, and are excited to offer our assistance to them,” Tosta said.
The Little League will be replacing the aluminum seats with wood bleachers, which hopefully will prove far less attractive to any would-be thieves, Crone said.
“We are not an organization that is bleeding money, so having help like this is fantastic,” Crone said. “I can’t really put into words how grateful we are.”