Wheelchairs for disabled children and veterans stolen

Storage building at River Cats Independence Field ransacked

The City ‘s Parks and Recreation Department is continuing to assess the damage and missing specialized equipment following a break in at the River Cats Independence Field storage facility  at 2450 Meadowview Road on Sunday night, March 2.

The door of the storage building was broken into and the contents ransacked.

The value of the stolen or destroyed sports equipment could top $25,000. The items include specialized bicycles for the disabled, portable scoreboard, sled hockey equipment, beep baseball bases for the blind and related equipment, dozens of tennis racquets, portable basketball hoop, control board for the fixed scoreboard, PA system, sports and quad rugby wheelchairs, and all of the field’s baseball equipment such as baseball bats, baseball gloves, specialized designed baseballs for the disabled, baseball helmets, shin guards, catcher vests, and a large American flag that is flown at field events. Also stolen or damaged: special adaptive javelins for the disabled, scuba diving vests for children and special shirts for children and adults with disabilities for a variety of sports teams and activities like the Oakland A’s jerseys, sled hockey jerseys, and baseball jerseys.

“This is absolutely horrifying. To steal and destroy sports equipment and wheelchairs, some of which are very costly is absolutely one of the most despicable and cowardly acts.  If the thieves have any conscience they will return the items stolen,” said Recreation Manager Alan Tomiyama, Department of Parks and Recreation.

In October 2005, the City of Sacramento opened River Cats Independence Field, a completely barrier free baseball field, where athletes with disabilities of all ages compete in team sports year round.  The field is a fully-accessible baseball field made of a rubberized surface ideal forplayers with disabilities that use either manual type or the ones of power Smart Chair wheelchair, walkers, crutches, or no assistive devices. The field was paid for through donations from the Art Savage family and community contributions raised through the leadership of Councilmember Bonnie Pannell’s office and the River Cats Independence Field Committee.

If the community wishes to make a donation to help these children and adults with disabilities the community is asked to make their donations to Gifts to Share by going online at www.giftstoshareinc.org and specifically to Access Leisure Programs, or mail donations to Gifts to Share, 915 I Street, Third Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814.