Strike 2: Thieves target a Renton youth baseball league for second time

RENTON -- A youth baseball league is down in the count, after thieves broke into their field and stole equipment for the second time.

Nine-year-old Connor Ryan can’t wait until spring when he gets to play baseball again.

“I really like the drills and practice, and I like running the bases," he said Monday.

He’s one of 400 kids that play in the Cascade Vista Athletic Club Pony League. His dad, Robert, is the club’s president.

“I think we’re the lowest-priced youth sports in the area,” Robert said. “I don’t want to increase that. I want every kid to be able to play.”

But Robert doesn’t know if he can keep fees low, in the wake of a recent break-in. Thieves stole thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment.

“It looks like they tried the lock, but weren’t able to cut through,” said Robert as he examined the places where bolt cutters were used.

In October, two lawnmowers were taken from one of the league’s sheds.

“I didn’t like that,” Connor said. “Because if you can’t mow the field, the baseball’s going to go 'whoop.'”

“We bought some beefed-up new locks then,” Robert added. “We thought there’s nothing left to steal, we can wait until after the holidays to come here and reinforce the gates. But didn’t last that long.”

This past weekend, the thieves returned and took a generator, a weed eater, and two pitching machines. Connor couldn’t believe it when he heard that.

“I got really mad, because they stole our pitching machines, which we use probably every other practice.”

The machines are worth $1,600 each, but Robert doesn’t know what anyone could do with them.

“We called a couple pawn shops today and they said they wouldn’t even buy that.”

Insurance won’t cover everything, so Robert is hoping donors will help them replace the equipment before next season starts. He doesn't want his kids to suffer any more hits.

“It’s hard to tell them somebody would do this. They don’t understand why. Why would anybody do that, especially to them?”

The league says if the thieves want to return the equipment, there will be no questions asked. But in case that doesn’t happen, they’ve set up a donation site online at CVAC.ORG.