A budget-crunched high school still recovering from a fire this past April now faces another obstacle after burglars stole $10,000 in athletic equipment from a padlocked storage building just days prior to the football team's home opener.
Now, the Lansdowne (Pa.) Penn Wood High athletic department is scrambling to find enough equipment to field a team against West Chester (Pa.) East High on Friday.
"We are always counting our pennies and nickels," Penn Wood athletic director Rap Curry told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We are going to have to make it up somewhere, whether it is a few less trips or a fundraising plan. We'll figure it out."
This past weekend, robbers broke into a cinder-block facility under the bleachers of Kerr Field in the neighboring Philadelphia suburb of Yeadon Borough, Pa., leaving with 15 football helmets, 10 shoulder pads, a bunch of footballs, a pair of Gatorade coolers, medical equipment, an athletic training table and a generator, according to Philly.com.
Making matters worse, the equipment had been placed in storage due to a three-alarm fire in April that closed a campus that housed 700 upperclassmen and forced them to cram into a building with the freshmen and sophomore classes, the report said.
That fire came on the heels of multiple bomb threats -- another open case with a $22,000 reward that Yeadon Police believe is unrelated to the robbery, Philly.com reported.
With effective tax rates among the nation's highest and a budget that does not allow for new athletic equipment annually, the Inquirer said, Curry's department keeps close tabs on every item under its control. The generator, which powers a football throwing machine and a softball pitching machine, was particularly a point of pride.
At least Curry has a sense of humor about only smaller-sized helmets and pads being stolen. "The Bad News Bears robbed us," he said. "They didn't take the extra-large stuff."
Curry's department is accepting donations at 100 Green Avenue, Lansdowne, Pa. 19050.