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Thieves steal from youth wrestling program days before state tournament

Scott Gross

You members from the "Chain Gang," a free youth club wrestling program, had $1800 worth of wrestling gear stolen on Tuesday night.

YUMA, Ariz. ( KYMA, KECY-TV ) - Days before the "Chain Gang" a Yuma youth wrestling club was to compete in the Arizona Junior High School State Tournament this Saturday, thieves broke into the wrestling facility located on the Yuma Catholic High School campus and stole most of their gear.

"On Wednesday morning the strength and condition coach for Yuma Catholic came in and saw a bunch of stuff missing," Chain gang wrestling coach Shawn Doer said. "He came into here, the wrestling room, the tv was gone, a bunch of gear, a bunch of clothes for the kids that we just got in, all the stuff they fundraised for."

The Chain Gang is a free wrestling club open to any child K-8 would would like to learn the sport of wrestling. The wrestlers and their families fundraise in order to purchase team gear and pay for the tournaments they participate in.

"They took the 70 inch television we had on the wall, a clock, some other things," Yuma Catholic Athletic Director Jeff Welsing said. "The youth gear is what gets me. They took it right out of the boxes, didn't take the boxes themselves, just the clothes. I don't understand it."

The items were set to be handed out to the youth wrestlers this week in order for them to wear them during the state meet.

"Shirts, shorts and sweatshirts," Doer said. "The more cards they sold the more stuff they got."

Doer says a few kids got their items on Monday but most of the rest were anticipating getting theirs later this week. Boxes with gear for the high school team were also taken.

When asked if it seemed to be an inside job?

"I can't say for sure," Welsing said. "But they sure seemed to know where everything was. Taking the tv and some of the other things is one thing but the items the kids worked so hard for is another."

"It's very sad," Doer said. "I mean we're going to the state tournament with these middle school kids this Saturday and someone came in and stole the stuff they worked hard for."

Doer and Welsing are asking to the community to keep their eyes peeled because the gear that was stolen, isn't something many people would have.

"The gear said chain gang wrestling club and there is no other club here in town called chain gang," Doer said. "So, if you see someone walking around or somebody trying to sell it on FaceBook exchange or something, please let us know. It's not for sale and we'd just like it back."

The wrestling gear alone cost about $1800 Welsing and Doer said. If the items are not found or returned, the wrestlers will show up in last year's gear or normal street clothes and blend in with the rest of the crowd.

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Scott Gross

Scott Gross joins the KYMA team as the CBS 13 sports director and weather forecaster. Scott comes to the Desert Southwest all the way from Alaska where he covered the military and education beats for KTVA-TV & KTUU-TV.

Contact him at scott.gross@kecytv.com.

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