Neighborhoods near Lompoc High are rallying to raise money for Braves baseball after thieves stole an estimated $3,000 in equipment from a shed at the school.
On Tuesday, LHS baseball players and coaches walked in to find a vandalized shed before practice. It was discovered that on Monday night, someone had broken into the shed to take equipment. A window in a building next to the baseball shed was also broken.
Among the items stolen were a brand new pitching machine and various snack bar goods. According to the GoFundMe page set up to help LHS baseball, the new pitching machine had never been used.
Sgt. Kevin Martin of the Lompoc Police Department said the LPD is working to determine who was responsible for the theft, and is helping to locate the stolen equipment.
“We have an active investigation on it,” Martin said Friday.
Martin added that he and the Lompoc Police Department are glad the city is coming together to help the LHS baseball program -- the school is currently 9-3 overall and 8-2 in Los Padres League games.
“The school doesn’t have too many resources. But it’s nice to see the community step up and come together,” Martin said.
Braves head coach Brian Aguailar, who is in his first season with the program, is also celebrating the effort.
“I’ve been overwhelmed with many amazing people right now,” Aguailar said Friday. “I was blown away by the calls I’ve had, including from former players from the '70s and parents of former and current players.”
Among the people donating money to the LHS baseball GoFundMe page are parents of former Brave players and Cabrillo assistant baseball coach Cole Osborne. Several others in the Lompoc Valley have taken to social networking sites to help spread the word about helping the Braves’ baseball program.
Aguailar, who played baseball for the Braves during his high school years, said Santa Barbara attorney Brian O’Connor has been a generous donor.
“He heard of the story and told me he had a father who coached baseball and wanted to help donate money to us,” Aguailar said, who added O’Connor wrote out a check to LHS to help aid the Braves’ baseball program.
As of early Friday afternoon, funds to replace the equipment had reached $1,900. The target goal is $3,000 according to the page that was created by Lori Grossini.
Aguailar said the community support has helped keep his spirits up following the theft.
“It helps me to prevent myself from being down in the dumps,” Aguailar said. “It’s been overwhelming and great.”