CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are trying to solve a heartbreaking burglary involving a well known youth football program.
The Bills make their home at Fran’s Kids Boys and Girls center at 2600 West Trade Street. The team is in need of football equipment after someone stole all the uniforms, pads and helmets.
“I do take it personal because we have won four championships in a row and we’re trying to defend another one,” said Ray Shawn Tyler Jr. a defensive end.
William Perkins organizes all the activities. He’s the one who discovered the theft and broke the news to the 300 kids who participate.
“I was stunned, hurt, disappointed for my kids,” said Perkins.
The club fields five youth football teams, participants range in age from five to 14-years-old.
"Last year, we were the defending state champions and we went to the nationals and won," said Demetrius Stone who plays quarterback.
In addition to football, the club has a track team for girls and cheerleaders; those uniforms were stolen as well.
“Maybe they didn’t have the equipment and they couldn’t afford it, so maybe they took it for a reason,” said Khalani Hutchinson, 13, who runs track.
The equipment had been kept in a portable storage unit for five months. “Came here, noticed the lock was missing, and rolled up the unit -- and that’s when I noticed things had been taken,” said Perkins.
Practice starts in two weeks and it’s unlikely the Bills will have their equipment by then but the coach’s vow there will be a season.
"I'm not going to disappoint our kids we’re going to have a season our kids are going to play this right here the loss of the equipment is a grown folks thing," said the Coach.
Perkins says the adults will have their work cut out for them as they try and raise $5,000 to replace the equipment. In the meantime they hope police catch the suspects and recover the stolen items.
"They should give us back our stuff and have consequences for their actions," said Kaylani Wilson, 12, a cheerleader.