The Orange County Model Engineers are seeking the public's help after 2,000 feet of aluminum train tracks and other materials -- valued in all at $7,000 to $9,000 -- were stolen from the nonprofit organization's storage facility.
Thieves cut their way through a gate at the facility housing the small, ridable trains in Costa Mesa's Fairview Park sometime between noon March 1 and 8 a.m. March 2, Dixon Sheldon, vice president of operations for the Model Engineers told Times Community News.
The tracks will probably be sold as scrap metal, said Costa Mesa police Lt. Greg Scott. An investigation of the theft is continuing, he said.
"We're hoping that whoever buys aluminum will see this and hopefully report it," Sheldon said, adding that "these guys must have gotten spooked because they didn't take all the aluminum that they could've."
The model engineers are planning to increase security at their facility and are asking for the public's help to replace the stolen goods.
The group, whose donation box will be out as usual this weekend, is also seeking 40-foot cargo bins and a new soda machine.
"We work off donations," Sheldon said, "and we don't have a big bank account to do this, so any donations are appreciated."