A local youth sports organization is asking for information after its concession stand was vandalized and burglarized earlier this week.
On Monday evening, Sydney Whitall, treasurer and concession stand organizer for the Paul Klover Soccer Association, went to open up the stand in Clover Dell Park to prepare for the evening games. She discovered her key wasn’t needed, as the door was already unlocked, and when she went inside she found a mess.
“She found popcorn all over the floor — whoever did it had enough time and made themselves popcorn with the popcorn machine. There was broken glass from our coffee pots, we have a Gatorade cooler as well and it had been broken, like it had been kicked around, things had been knocked over,” said board President Amanda Blackburn. “(Whitall) started to look around to see what was missing and all of the candy bars, every last piece was gone. We keep quite a bit in stock, it is the season, so all of the candy was gone, a large amount of Gatorade was gone.
“All in all the product stolen I think it amounted to approximately $530.”
Blackburn said she and her husband were at the soccer fields Sunday afternoon to reline the fields, and everything appeared to be fine.
The building has two concession windows with metal covers that are secured by a chain on the inside. Blackburn said it appears the unknown suspect(s) broke in through the windows by hitting one of them until they were able to break the chain loose and gain access.
The Paul Klover Soccer Association offers youth soccer to area kids, with 650 signed up this season. It offers a fall outdoor recreation league, winter indoor league and a summer soccer camp. The association is a nonprofit organization with a volunteer board.
The board is running the concession stand itself for the first time this year, and profits go back into the program for goal replacement or coach development. Fees are charged to each player to only cover costs such as shirts and referees, so an incident like this will have an effect on the organization.
“The loss we suffered is exactly that, that’s a loss for the organization. There’s nothing that will replace those funds,” Blackburn said. “We do have some money, we can replenish the food items so we can continue to operate. It doesn’t have a direct negative effect — the kids will still able to play soccer and it won’t cause us to raise our fees — but as a nonprofit any time you suffer a loss it’s very hard to recoup that.”
The Sedalia Parks and Recreation Department has already fixed the window and Blackburn said they put some additional precautions in place with the windows to hopefully prevent another burglary. She added that the broken cooler won’t be replaced, but the coffee pots will be since they are needed to make coffee and hot cocoa, and new food items will be purchased.
“It’s just frustrating — it took time to clean up, to make the police report, and we had no concessions (Tuesday),” Blackburn said. “We still played soccer, that’s our main goal, but it is still very frustrating. We’ll recover, I know things like this happen, not just to us but to individuals as well, but it’s nice to see if someone is able to be caught and learn a lesson and not do it again.”
This is the first time the association has had a “significant burglary,” but it isn’t the first time crime has hit Clover Dell Park. Blackburn said someone attempted to break into the association’s shed that houses equipment two weekends ago, but nothing was stolen, and within the last six weeks a set of soccer goals was stolen.
A cash reward, provided by several of the association’s volunteers, is being offered for any information leading to the arrest of the suspects who committed the crime. If you have any information regarding this incident, call the Sedalia Police Department at 660-826-8100 or Blackburn at 660-281-6455.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.