ROCKWALL, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas police and coaches of a Little League baseball team are at a loss as to why someone would destroy the team's van and steal equipment from inside.
The sight of a burning van is what the coach of the Marlowe Tigers walked out to two nights ago. The vehicle was personally owned by the team's coach and used to carry equipment and transport the players.
The van was stolen and vandalized in Dallas before being set on fire and abandoned. Hundreds of dollars worth of sports equipment was either stolen or burned to ashes.
"I think it was some vagrants, maybe nefarious people. I think they said they were trying to burn the prints off the car so they couldn't be traced," assistant coach Everett Lippel said.
The crime occurred in the middle of the team's season. Fortunately, there's been an outpouring of support for the team, which will hold its first practice on Saturday since the crime happened.
An online fundraising effort is underway to replace balls, gloves, bats, uniforms, batting helmets and catcher's masks.
The team's assistant coach wants whoever committed the crime to know that they stole from 11-year-old children and should be ashamed.
"I think there's a lesson here, just in the way that the community rallied around. Yeah, it's a terrible act of arson and vandalism. It was just stupid, senseless. Like, why do it? But these things happen. There's bad people in the world," Lippel said.
The team's coaches hope to have all the baseball equipment replaced in time for their next game on Monday.
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