Thousands of dollars worth of equipment stolen from Santee sports park

SANTEE, Calif. - Santee ASA Youth Softball players are calling "foul" on the thieves that ransacked their field and took off with thousands of dollars worth of sports equipment.

"All four [pitching] machines, air compressor, extension cords and some of our pitching machines balls were in [the storage unit]," explained Jay Strandberg, president of the organization. "Just a lot of disappointment is what they brought to us."

It is not clear exactly when the heist happened, but organizers believe the thieves struck the Santee Town Center West Park last weekend. Strandberg believes the robbery may have been an inside job.

"Everything is locked up," he added. "It doesn't really show an outsider getting in, looks like somebody from the inside did it."

Currently, 34 managers have keys to the field, a policy that Strandberg says will change. The league is even considering installing surveillance cameras at the park.

The stolen equipment is costing the league nearly $10,000 to replace. Some of it is already being replaced using fundraising dollars.

"We've already had three fundraisers just to get through, and now we're going to have more fundraisers to get the pitching machines back," said Madison Rust, a softball player with the league. "So it's more work for us, and we still have to juggle our time with practices."

Another player, Amber Jones, said, "They took the heart and soul of our team. We pretty much use pitching in our everyday practice, so it's frustrating."

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