By kalea hall
Gale Carino and Barb Bellish would like whoever stole more than $400 worth of merchandise from the Austintown Colts Youth Football concession stand to see the children who would have benefited from the concession’s profits.
Last week, portable toilets, trash cans and picnic tables were all tipped over, and the concession stand was ransacked, leaving the parents and leaders of the team who raise money to run the program with nothing. Everything from Slim Jim beef jerky to a medical bag with a blood-pressure machine and stethoscope were taken, leaving the organization leaders to question what to do to prevent this from happening again.
“We would like to think Austintown is better than this,” Carino said.
The field the Colts play on was donated to the organization last year by the DeBartolo Corp. While the leaders of the organization were thankful for the donation, they realize that work still needs to be done to improve the security of the area. There is no electricity on the field, so at night it is pitch black. There also are no gates there to prevent anyone from getting in. Bellish, president of the organization, said she would like to make big plans for the organization and fix up the building that came with the property, but with not enough funding and theft and vandalism occurring, it is difficult. This is the third time the concession stand was robbed, but this time was the worst. The theft is believed to have taken place Wednesday night, just two days after it was fully stocked.
It costs about $20,000 every year to run the organization with the costs of taxes, insurance, uniforms, helmets and taking care of the field, Bellish said.
The $400 worth in merchandise taken from the concessions would have brought in about $1,000 to the organization.
“We have to do something to get it back, because of the loss,” said Nick Carino, coach and equipment manager for the Colts.
Austintown Police Chief Robert Gavalier said what is done in these situations is the patrol car that typically patrols the area will pay closer attention to the field. These situations are “frustrating,” Gavalier said because profits are being stolen from an organization that needs it.
“I would like them to see the kids they took from,” Gale Carino said.
Donations from members of the Austintown community have led to a $200 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
“If you know someone who has a garage full of candy, let the Austintown police know,” Gale Carino said.