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League starts to rebuild

Youth Scene

Costa Mesa American Little League responds with effort to improve after recent theft and vandalism at its fields.

February 21, 2012|By Bruce Bourquin, Special to the Daily Pilot

Theft and vandalism has recently rocked Costa Mesa American Little League. CMALL is rebuilding with help from the community to improve from the damage that was done.

One or more people stole $293 worth of snack-bar items sometime between the night of Feb. 3 and the afternoon of Feb. 11 at the Costa Mesa American Little League fields on the Costa Mesa High School campus.

Sgt. Bryan Wadkins of the Costa Mesa Police Department said an unknown number of people pried into the snack-bar shed, removed the latch and stole items. There was minor damage like scratching the paint and doors. There are no suspects, leads or witnesses.

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Costa Mesa American Little League President Todd Cowley said Sunday that some time on the night of Feb. 10, the person or people appeared to have grabbed a tree branch in order to pry the snack-bar door open.

Although the doors were locked from the inside, the locks were somehow broken open and the person or people somehow got access to the entire snack bar.

"We are hoping to install a security light with a motion sensor this week," Cowley said. "If they got into it once, they might get into it again. We'll just have to keep an eye out for each other."

Police told league representatives that based on tree branches used to pry doors open being left at the scene, it could appeared to have been sometime between Feb. 10 and Feb. 11.

On the police report, the crime was listed as being sometime between 10 p.m. on Feb. 3 and 2 p.m. on Feb. 11.

Costa Mesa American Little League, which consists of baseball players ages 4 through 12, has taken progressive steps to try and prevent any future crimes. They are working on installing more secure locks and security bars on the inside windows. The fields are located behind the Costa Mesa High School tennis courts and nearby local homes.

Cowley said he suspects there were at least two thieves, due to the amount of items that were stolen.

"All you're doing is hurting the kids," Cowley said. "You're not hurting someone [older]. It doesn't hurt us, it doesn't hurt the school. You're not getting back at someone."

The crime most likely occurred six days after a "Back to Baseball Day" held by the all-volunteer league, which, as a non-profit, is not insured against these types of losses.

Two large Tupperware containers containing candy, chips, cups of ramen noodles, sunflower seeds, bubble gum and other snacks and several cases of sodas were taken.

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