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Clark County little league has only riding mower stolen

The Salmon Creek Little League is in full swing this spring. At the same time, it is suffering the loss of some important equipment to maintain its ball fields.

CLARK COUNTY, Wash. — The Salmon Creek Little League is in full swing this spring. But at the same time, it is suffering the loss of some important equipment to maintain its ball fields.

The nonprofit organization had its riding mower stolen, along with a push mower. The equipment was stolen from storage containers at the ball fields behind Gaiser Middle School on Northeast 99th Street in Clark County.

Melanie Heaton is a softball coach and on the leadership team for the league. She said replacing the riding mower would cost more than $8,000.

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“We have just shy of 400 kids that play softball and baseball out here, which is huge, so we rely on this equipment," said Heaton. "We use it to get these fields prepped all over for these kids to play, and I don't know how we're gonna do it now.”

The league now has new, tougher locks on the containers where the riding mower and push mower were stored.

So who broke in and took them? Thanks to neighbors' security cameras, there are clues. Video shows a black Dodge Ram pickup truck pulling a black trailer, in the time frame the gear was stolen. The same with pictures taken just after 7 a.m. on April 12, the day they were stolen. They show a man and woman connected to the truck.

Credit: Melanie Heaton

A neighbor notified the Heatons that morning, who got there just after the black truck left.

“So, it's really frustrating ... but at the same time, if it wasn't for our community and people watching out for our fields and our containers, we wouldn't have had any clue,” sad Heaton.

Heaton’s family is all involved in the little league. She has a daughter who plays softball, and a son who plays baseball and helps his father maintain the fields.

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Nine-year-old Jaxon enjoys the game, but also enjoys helping his dad work the ball fields.

“And it's really difficult now because now we have to take our own lawnmower down here and do it,” said Jaxon.

That's a lot of slow mowing, and not sustainable. But $8,000 to replace the riding mower is money Salmon Creek Little League doesn't have it.

“I'm really frustrated because I feel like not only did they hurt a nonprofit organization that's ran strictly by volunteers, but they stole from these kids,” said Heaton.

Now everyone hopes either the gear gets returned or, as Jaxon put it, “We catch the jerks and then we get our lawnmower back hopefully, because they are very expensive.”

If you have any information about the theft, call the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

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