VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A youth league football team took a hard hit off the field after someone vandalized their equipment shed.
The incident happened right before a big trip to play in the national league championships coming up in December.
The president of the VB Cooke Redskins organization tells 10 On Your Side he’s not sure why the team was targeted.
Now, they’re scrambling to make sure they have everything they need before they leave.
It’s a lesson in adversity that Robert “Duke” Owens Jr. wasn’t expecting his players to experience.
“It hurts. It’s very disappointing,” Owens said. “It’s for the kids. I don’t have any kids, so I do this for the kids.”
Someone ransacked the team’s equipment shed, leaving a mess behind. Helmets, jerseys and shoulder pads covered the ground.
Head coach Dequan Johnson found the mess on Tuesday evening.
“I feel real, real bad to know that somebody would want to take from the kids. Not even us — it’s the kids,” Johnson said.
Police took a report while WAVY.com was there. The shed is at Seatack North Park, which is right behind the Virginia Beach Law Enforcement Training Academy.
The unit didn’t have signs of forced entry.
“To come here and to look and see my hut all messed up — that really bothers me,” Owens said.
The league is heading to Florida in two weeks to play in the American Youth Football National Championship. It’s a goal the team of players, which encompasses ages 7 to 11, has worked hard for.
“We fundraised Saturday and Sunday in the cold to try to get this money for our boys to compete for Florida,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the vandalism is a disappointing distraction before their big game.
“Out of 17 kids, only five kids played football, so this means so much to them. It means so much to the parents and it means so much to me because I watched these kids grow,” Johnson said.
10 On Your Side was told there weren’t any nearby surveillance cameras.
Anyone with information about this incident should give Virginia Beach police a call.