A New York City high school baseball team is getting inundated with calls of support after someone stole their sports equipment out of a car this week.
The team of about two dozen students was busy practicing at the High School of Graphic Communication Arts campus in midtown Thursday — a day after a thief swiped balls, bats, hats, jerseys, a defibrillator, and other equipment from their coach in the Bronx.
Team coach Jesus Perez said the equipment was stolen from his car, which he parked on Ryer Avenue near his home in Fordham on Tuesday night after a game on Randall’s Island.
When Perez came back to the car Wednesday night, he found the door open and the inside of the interior in disarray. Items in the glove compartment were thrown to the floor or stolen and everything from the trunk, including personal items and the team's equipment, was gone.
“That’s what hurts the most, because the kids need the equipment to play the games,” Perez said.
Perez estimates that all the equipment is worth at least $3,000. The defibrillator alone is worth $1,300.
Police have filed a report and a detective is on the case.
In the meantime, the school's principal and athletic director have fielded 20 to 25 calls from people wanting to donate equipment, according to the school. Offers have come in from everyone from a local parent to a veteran's group and Modell's Sporting Goods.
The team has tried to keep positive, practicing with borrowed bats and some balls they still own.
“They’re pretty bummed about it. The season just started and it comes as a big shock,” Perez said before the outpouring of support.
The team’s next game is Friday night on Randall’s Island. They’ve scrapped together enough gear and jerseys to play.
“We’re trying to come together and bond and see what we can do to make it through the season,” Perez said.
Those who want to help should call the school at 212-246-2183 and ask to speak to athletic director Clarence Tennell.
The Department of Education has not responded to a request for comment.