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Burglars stealing from little leaguers across New Jersey

Posted: 6:30 PM, Jun 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-18 18:31:18-04

WAYNE — Burglars are breaking into kids' concession stands on sports fields across northern New Jersey. Almost 20 towns across six counties have been hit between April 24 and today, including municipalities in Bergen, Morris, Passaic, Essex, Sussex and Middlesex. The thieves have targeted little leagues, recreation programs and a school. They broke into some locations twice.

Many programs rely on cash from concession stands to operate.

"We noticed the building was ransacked. All our candy was stolen. Merchandise was thrown all over the floor," said Neil McKenna, head of Elmwood Park's little league, and a dad and coach himself.

Elmwood Park’s baseball and football program for kids both got robbed.

In Wayne, dad and coach Anthony Abate showed PIX11 where their concession stand door was kicked in. The suspects took whatever they could find inside.

"You know everybody volunteers their time and the little money that is raised from the snack stands is really valuable to the league for purchasing equipment," he said. "To see it taken away is upsetting."

Surveillance video captured suspects, a man and a woman, breaking into concession stands in Woodbridge and Hasbrouck Heights. In both cases, video shows a man wearing black, thick-rimmed glasses and a thin woman wearing a hoodie.

Various programs for children aged 3 and up have reported missing candy, clothing and cash, with losses between $100 and $300.

"A lot of parents are getting together to do a fundraiser for us, which we’re having in a couple weeks down at Blue 42," said McKenna.

Bergenfield Little League in Bergen County was also broken into over Memorial Day weekend, Bergenfield police said.

Thieves broke the window and stole over $200 along with all the candy that was displayed. Damages and losses cost over $500, police said

A local business in Elmwood Park has stepped up to help make up for what the burglars took away.

"I don’t know who in their right mind would ever do that," said Giorgio Biancamano, owner of Blue 42. "Hopefully they catch them."

Police are asking anyone with information to call.

A percentage of all purchases made at Blue 42 on June 29 between 7 p.m. and closing time will benefit Elmwood Park's football and baseball little league.