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May 27, 2022

‘It’s a shame’: Thousands of dollars worth of fireworks stolen from youth sports team

WATSONVILLE—Thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of so-called “safe-and-sane” fireworks that a youth football program intended to sell as a Fourth of July fundraiser, Watsonville Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Pulido said.

The Watsonville Jr. Wildcatz had roughly $7,000 worth of fireworks stolen from a storage container sometime on Saturday night or early Sunday, organization president Jaime Garcia said. Burglars also made off with several hundreds of dollars worth of gear, snacks and additional fundraising goods.

Garcia said that the money raised through fireworks sales helps fund 5-10 scholarships a season for the nonprofit’s youth football players and cheerleaders. It also helps pay for costs associated with field usage and snacks for participating kids, among other things.

“It’s a shame, really,” he said. “They’re not only taking away from our organization, but from the kids that benefit from our program.’”

Garcia said several people have reached out to him looking to make donations to help defray the lost funds. At the moment, he said they are waiting to see how much the insurance will cover, and if WPD can find any of the stolen goods.

“We’re still waiting for some good news,” he said. “We’ll see what happens with the insurance before we start taking money from people who might need it more.”

Garcia said people looking to make donations should visit their Facebook page. There, they can find the program’s website and Venmo account.

Pulido said WPD has not yet ruled out whether the theft is related to an attempted burglary that occurred at another storage container housing “safe-and-sane” fireworks at the Watsonville Square Shopping Center.

Officers there arrested a man trying to break into the container with bolt cutters and a handsaw.

Anyone with information on either case is asked to call 831-471-1151.

Tony Nuñez
Managing Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor for five years before entering his current role in 2019. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.

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