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Plainfield Soccer Assoc.: Equipment Missing from Shed on Park District Property

Officials said locks were changed on the PSA-owned shed, possibly by Plainfield Park District staff.

Credit: File photo
Credit: File photo
Plainfield Soccer Association officials are asking whether Plainfield Park District staff had anything to do with the disappearance of numerous bags of soccer equipment at Renwick Community Park.

On Tuesday, officials discovered that someone had removed the locks on a PSA shed at the park, 24550 W. Renwick Rd. Coach Rob Ayres said between 15 to 20 bags of equipment are missing from the storage shed. Ayres said the park district had allowed PSA to build the shed and store equipment on park district property.

"A division's worth of bags is missing," Ayres said. He said the theft would have had to happen sometime between the end of last season and Tuesday, when it was discovered.

PSA Director of Recreation Kevin Scherry said he and Kathy Ayres, Rob Ayres' wife and a PSA administrator, were picking up equipment to hand out to coaches at a Tuesday night meeting at Ira Jones school.

"Kathy found the locks changed," Scherry said. PSA's locks had been removed and two new locks — including a "massive, stainless steel security lock" had been put on the shed, he said.

After getting the all-clear to cut off the locks — which was no easy task, Scherry said — they discovered that numerous bags were missing.

"Unfortunately, we had to damage our handle to get [the lock] off," he said. Scherry said Plainfield Park District Interim Executive Director Gene Coldwater told PSA that the park district would cover any costs or damages associated with removing the locks.

On Tuesday night, Ayres said PSA had not been able to take a full inventory of what was missing, but he estimated that 15 to 20 bags were gone.

Scherry said more than $1,000 worth of equipment is unaccounted for. Each bag contains equipment such as balls and medical kits.

"It's enough to get a volunteer coach and kids through a season," Scherry said. Thanks to the missing equipment, "We had to scramble to spread out equipment between teams" so that practices could begin for the season, he said.

Rob Ayres also had concerns about donations of soccer equipment from former Chicago Bulls player Luol Deng. Ayres said Deng, whose cousin is a PSA coach, had donated "boxes and boxes" of Adidas cleats and other soccer equipment that was to be shipped to Africa.

Ayres wasn't sure Tuesday night if any of the donated equipment was missing.

Coldwater said he got a call from Kathy Ayres on Tuesday night.

"[She] called me last night to let me know the lock was changed on their storage shed at Renwick and asked for permission to cut the lock," Coldwater said. "I told her that as far as I was concerned, the shed was at Renwick for PSA's use and to do whatever she had to do. I also apologized on behalf of the district that this happened."

On Wednesday morning, Coldwater said he had not spoken to anyone at PSA about the missing equipment, but said he planned to talk to them as soon as possible.

"I am also looking into how this lock got changed," Coldwater said.

While PSA has used park district facilities for years, the Plainfield Park District recently launched its own soccer league for 4-year-olds through eighth-graders. 

Plainfield Police Sgt. Mike Fisher on Wednesday confirmed that a PSA official had filed a police report in the incident. He said an officer met with PSA at Renwick park on Tuesday.

Fisher said it's unclear whether the equipment was simply moved by another PSA staffer or actually stolen.

"If it's a legitimate burglary, why would they put new locks on?" Fisher said. "... It's hard to say."

Fisher said the case has been referred to the department's investigations unit.

Scherry, who said PSA officials plan to meet with park district staff later this week, was disappointed by the incident.

"[It's] frustrating," he said. "A theft's a theft."
Jimmy Parks March 21, 2014 at 01:14 PM
Interesting. I guess my last post hit too close to home and got flagged?
Vicky Polito March 23, 2014 at 10:26 AM
This is funny, but what I'm going to reference may not be in place if you go look at it: Right now, at 9:25a on the Patch main news page, there's this story at the top, with the large green and white PSA logo. The story underneath it has a white and green badge-shaped logo that reads "OMG PD" and instantly I my brain translated it as "oh my God Park District". Ha!
my conscience March 23, 2014 at 12:20 PM
1) Insulting? Yes. 2) Illegal? Yes. 3) Surprising? ____ .

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