Burglar has a sweet tooth, raids AYSO snack shack

You wouldn't take candy from a baby.

So why, local mom and American Youth Soccer Organization Region 120 board member Silvia Casasola wondered, would someone steal all the candy and Gatorade from a snack bar that raises money for young soccer players?

"It's just kind of disappointing," Casasola said of the Monday night theft from the AYSO parent-run snack bar, which is open most afternoons and all day Saturdays at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa.

It wasn't exactly a grand heist, Casasola said: About $300 in Ring Pops, Sour Punch straws, chocolate bars, sunflower seeds and other goodies was taken. Still, she said, the loss will set fundraising back.

Casasola said the stolen items had been laid out on a table near the serving window Monday night in preparation for the next afternoon's sales. She said volunteers and a city field ambassador locked up about 8:20 p.m.

The city has sole access to sports facilities, and when a field ambassador came to open the stand Tuesday, Casasola said, the entire food inventory was gone, but appliances and even the candy boxes were left behind.

Costa Mesa Police Lt. Tim Schennum wrote in an email Wednesday that a commercial burglary was reported Tuesday and that there was no suspect information.

Casasola said the facility didn't look from the outside as if it had been broken into Tuesday. A roll-top door in front of the serving window was closed.

Bob Knapp, the Costa Mesa city recreation manager, said the break-in was "definitely a forced entry." The complex is surrounded by an 8-foot fence, which is locked up about 10 nightly. He said repairs have been made to the door itself and staff is "seeing what we can do to secure it additionally."

"We put a lot of time and effort into the quality of the facilities, [but there are] always people who take advantage," he said, adding that for many of the city's sports programs, snack bars are "an important aspect of fundraising."

Proceeds from the snack bar help send one Region 120 team per year to a travel tournament.

This year, Casasola said, parents are fundraising to send her son's Under-16 team to a tournament in Hawaii next July.

Typically, she said, the snack bar makes about $200 in a week, after restocking costs.

While the team still has the rest of that time to raise money, she said, the lost candy, "for our effort, is a lot."


Twitter: @jillcowan

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