Fundraiser money stolen from kids' baseball team

- A thief robbed a group of six-year-old baseball players in Brooksville of their hard-earned fundraising money, intended to help them go to the upcoming state tournament.

For weeks, parents of a Hernando Youth Baseball team had been collecting money to attend the tournaments in Sebring and Bristol.

 

Parents say someone stole the money from one of their vehicles while the team practiced about 500 feet away. 

The practice field was just far enough away for them not to hear the breaking glass.

"We were only here maybe 15 minutes," said parent Samantha DeVary. "When I saw the damage, I was furious. When I saw what was missing, I wanted to cry."

While their kids practiced, windows of seven cars were smashed.

All kinds of valuables were taken, including $1,400 slated for their kids' travel costs.

"This is your home, this is your sense of security. We are all a family. All of our kids have grown up on these fields," said parent Samantha Waddell. "To see it taken away this quick, it hurts."

Deputies say they're not the only ones. Also on Monday, five cars were broken into at a gym on Cortez.

Deputies believe both parking lots were targeted by the same people.

"It is out and about that we have multiple teams that are trying to raise money," said DeVary. "My thought is maybe these folks thought we had tons of money sitting in our cars."

New fundraising will start right away. Both kids and parents have gotten an unwelcome lesson in the fundamentals.

"What that took from them was a little bit of their innocence," said DeVary. "They are now exposed to downright nasty people. That take from anybody."

Deputies are collecting surveillance video from several areas to try and narrow down any possible suspects.

They believe they may be able to release more on who to watch out for over the next few days.

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