Vandals damage St. James youth football program’s uniforms, equipment

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ST. JAMES, Mo. – Looted, slashed, and spray-painted. Vandals hit the St. James, Missouri youth football team, uniform storage facility, costing the organization thousands in damaged equipment.

Players were expected to start their training camp next week but the anticipation has been overshadowed after vandals struck the team storage facility.

The St. James Youth Football Team has won three championships in the last four years. But now the big question for the program is could their season be in jeopardy?

The vandals struck Monday night.

“When I unlocked the door, I walked in and found our equipment, it had been ransacked and thrown all over the place and vandalized. They made quite a mess it put a halt to everything,” said Beau Moreland, president of the football program.

According to police, the culprits broke into the storage room, emptying uniforms and gear containers, pouring chemicals and urinating on every practice jersey, pants, and pad inserts.

About 100 kids, grades 3rd through 6th, play for the St. James Tigers.

Now players like Blake Gipson are trying to figure out how to replace items so they can hit the field running.

“Me and my friends we have been playing since third-grade and if we don’t have football, we would all be sad,” he said.

With the season right around the corner, team leaders worry the vandals may have cost the team their season.

“This puts us in a bad spot,” Moreland said. “We were going to do our registration this week, so we issue helmets and jerseys out. However, at this point, we don’t have anything to give the kids. We are skeptical about trying to give them a helmet with chemicals on it…our big thing is safety of the kids.”

The team is now asking the community for help in two areas. They’re asking anyone with information on the crime to contact police. The program has said donations would be helpful:

Phelps County Bank
220 N. Jefferson Street, St. James
573-265-3222

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