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'I really don't know how we're going to recover': Vancouver Island junior football team hit with $50K equipment theft

Helmets belonging to the Vancouver Island Raiders football team were among the items reportedly stolen. (RCMP) Helmets belonging to the Vancouver Island Raiders football team were among the items reportedly stolen. (RCMP)
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Mounties in Nanaimo, B.C., are investigating after thieves broke into the equipment storage room of the Vancouver Island Raiders junior football team and made off with an estimated $50,000 in gear.

In a statement Tuesday, the local RCMP said the theft happened overnight Wednesday, Aug. 31 at the team's Caledonia Park practice facility at 110 Wall St.

Investigators say the metal door of the building was pried open and the thieves made off with helmets, jerseys, pads, tents, headsets, tools and footballs. A detailed list of the stolen equipment is below.

Police say it's the latest setback for the non-profit sports team, which lost an estimated $15,000 in gear in a similar theft last September at its Comox Field facility. The team also suffered damages after a fire was intentionally set at the team's Caledonia Park facility last month.

Raiders vice-president and general manager Josh Williams said he is "beyond frustrated" in a statement Tuesday.

"We're trying our best to provide a positive development experience for these kids but it seems that just as we get past one setback, we're hit with another one," Williams said.

"There is no sugar-coating or minimizing the impact this theft will have on our team moving forward. Right now, I really don’t know how we're going to recover from it."

The football team relies on community sponsorships and game-day operations to fund its entire operation, according to Williams.

Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson Const. Gary O'Brien said "at least two people with two or more vehicles had to be involved" in the latest theft.

Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

Stolen items:

  • 12 helmets
  • 20 black and white jerseys
  • 15 sets of shoulder pads
  • 30 practice jerseys
  • 35 girdles
  • Headsets
  • 20 team bags with Raiders logo on sides
  • Two boxes of game balls
  • Yard markers, down marker chains, goal pads, treatment table
  • Two tents
  • Rolling tool box with assorted equipment
  • 10 flats of Gatorade
  • Two boxes of LED lights
  • Radio
  • Bolt cutters, wrench, air compressor, hole punch set 

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