A series of concession-stand and storage-shed burglaries at Stribling Park has frustrated youth sports organizers.
“They cleaned us out,” said Arvid Woodard, president of the Greenwood Youth Soccer Organization.
“I’m confused on why they keep breaking in,” said Jacob Clark, president of the Greenwood Exchange Club, which sponsors youth softball and baseball.
The burglaries and break-in attempts began late last month and have continued this month, Clark and Woodard said.
The two organizations run concession stands near their sports’ respective fields, which are connected by a gravel parking lot.
The Youth Soccer Organization has one concession stand, and the Exchange Club runs two — one for the baseball field and one for the softball field. The two organizations share a green shed.
About $1,000 worth of concession-stand snacks and landscaping equipment, such as a tree trimmer, have been stolen from the Youth Soccer Organization, Woodard said.
One of the break-ins was discovered on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 29, the day of the week soccer games are held, Woodard said. The organization had to restock on snacks before the games started at 1:30 p.m. Even the padlocks on the gate that closes off the complex were broken, Woodard said.
Following this, the organization made alterations to the doors of the concession stand to prevent further break-ins.
Signs of a recent but unsuccessful break-in were noticeable Thursday at the stand near the soccer fields, Woodard said. There had been attempts to pry hinges from doors.
Because neither baseball nor softball is in season, the Exchange Club hasn’t had any goods stolen from its concession stands.
“We don’t have anything in stock,” Clark explained.
Still, that hasn’t prevented a person or persons from breaking into the Exchange Club’s concession stands by popping hinges from the doors.
The concession stands have been broken into three times. The most recent discovery of a break-in was noticed last Wednesday, Clark said.
Because the culprits evidently know what they’re doing, Clark speculated that they might be older than children.
Woodard said he believes the same people are responsible for all of the break-ins.
“They’d hit them; then they’d hit us,” he said.
Police Chief Ray Moore said the department has several people of interest and an investigation is ongoing.
City Councilman Johnny Jennings, whose Ward 1 includes Stribling Park, said he is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator or perpetrators.
Amid complaints that there’s nothing for youth to do in Greenwood, Stribling Park is important because it provides recreational activities, Jennings said.
“There are certain things in Greenwood that are taboo,” including tampering with the sports fields, he said.
•Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or email@example.com.