Thieves steal sports equipment used by disabled children

FRESNO, Calif.

The theft happened sometime over the weekend near Highway 168 and Fowler in Clovis.

The hospital rents a unit there to store equipment used for its Adaptive Sports Program.

The Adaptive Sports Program at Children's Hospital provides free recreational activities like water skiing and rock climbing, to about 150 children and young adults with disabilities.

"It makes me sad that people would do that."

Dianne Vanaman is taking the break-in at this Clovis storage facility to heart.

That's because her two children, 11-year-old Shawn and 8-year-old Andrea are active participants in the Adaptive Sports Program at Children's Hospital.

Dianne Vanaman said, "This is specialized equipment and being that it's also donated, it's not like we have all types of money to replace something like that."

Action News was there last summer when dozens of children, including Vanaman's put that equipment to use during a water sporting event.

This past weekend, thieves got away with nearly 1600-dollars' worth of stuff, including six life jackets, ropes and a modified wakeboard like this one.

Dr. Jennifer Crocker runs the Adaptive Sports Program.

She has spent the past four years collecting the stolen items.

Dr. Jennifer Crocker said, "Em...disappointed in the whole event and upset that someone would want to come in and want to take such a specialized piece of our program."

Adding to her dismay is how the crook or crooks got in.

They broke a hole in the stucco wall of the unit--which backs up against Highway 168.

Clovis Police say Children's Hospital was one of four units hit.

Janet Stoll-Lee said, "We had a lot of different burglaries, a lot of vehicle burglaries, but generally haven't seen an uptick in this type of activity."

Hospital officials are hopeful someone will return the stolen items.

Dianne Vanaman's children are as well, having this to say to whoever's responsible: "Give it back! Ha ha. Give it back? Mmm hmm."

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