Sunday, October 22, 2017

This past week our club suffered two serious thefts and property damage related to burglaries at the Gulf Coast Soccer Complex. This makes three such incidents since Thanksgiving, during which two commercial zero-turn mowers, two portable light towers, two grass trimmers, and our utility car have been taken, plus some other smaller items.

Our losses from these thefts now total more than $30,000. As a result, we no longer have the equipment we need to maintain our playing fields properly, nor do we have the lighting required for the number of teams we have practicing until 8:30pm during the week.

As you likely know, Gulf Coast Soccer is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit that has been in Mid-South Jefferson County since 1981. We currently serve nearly 1600 youth soccer players each year, ages 3-18, from Port Arthur, Port Neches, Groves, Nederland, Bridge City, and parts of Beaumont. We maintain and develop a 35-acre complex entirely on our own, without benefit of taxpayer funding or support from a local parks department or school district. We have always sought to provide the best-possible youth sports experience at the lowest-possible cost, but we cannot continue to operate while suffering losses such as these.

These thefts have persisted even as we have taken meaningful steps to secure our property, and they appear to be the work of experienced, professional thieves.  It is also clear that the club has been specifically targeted by these thieves and that future attacks on the facility will occur unless they are apprehended very soon.  Other local youth sports organizations and other local municipal maintenance facilities have been targeted in similar ways recently, so it appears that these thieves are harming many others in our community as well.

WE NEED YOUR HELP.

1.  If you know something that may help us find these criminals, or know of someone who may be involved, please notify the Port Neches Police Department immediately at 409-722-1424. Most of this equipment is fairly large, and thus required a large vehicle or trailer to haul away. In addition, the thieves likely required a place to store the stolen items temporarily, plus a willing buyer of stolen property on the other end of the transaction.

2.  If you are in the area around the soccer complex, please be vigilant for anyone or anything that seems out of place, and report it to the police immediately.  We do not do maintenance on the fields in the dark, so please notify the police if you notice vehicles or people on the property between 9pm and 7am.

3.  If you can, please make a donation to help us replace our stolen equipment, and to upgrade our security systems at the complex to protect against future break-ins and thefts like these.  We have set up a GoFundMe account at the link below, and we would welcome in-kind donations of used equipment that is in working condition as well.

We welcome your donation in any amount, as every dollar will make a difference for our kids.  Even a small donation shows others that you value the work our club is doing for our local youth, and helps us meet our goal for recovery that much faster.

https://www.gofundme.com/gulf-coast-youth-soccer-theft/

4.  Finally, please help spread the word to as many people as possible.  Share the GoFundMe link using your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and forward this email to your friends, family, and neighbors.  We need everyone in the community working together to identify the criminals and to help the club recover from these serious losses as we do our best to serve the children of Mid-South County.

Thank you for your support and concern, and please let us know if you have any questions.

Gulf Coast Soccer

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