Members of the Southern Oklahoma Track Club were in for a rude surprise when they returned to their vehicle after eating dinner in Sacramento, Calif., Monday evening. While they were in the restaurant, one of their rental vehicles was burglarized and several pieces of luggage were stolen.
Alicia Henry, assistant director of Ardmore Parks and Recreation, said the club had just arrived in California to compete in the United States Track and Field Junior Olympics when the burglary occurred. In fact, they had not even checked into their hotel yet.
“Their flight left Dallas at around four in the afternoon and the burglary happened a little before 9 (p.m.) in California,” Henry said. “They had just picked up their rental cars and they stopped at In and Out Burger to grab a quick bite on the way to their hotel.”
Henry said during the short time they were away from the vehicle, someone broke out the window and took several bags. Items that were stolen include laptops, clothing, track uniforms and equipment and prescription medication. When Program Coordinator JaMia Hubbard reported the theft to the Sacramento Police Department, she was informed these types of break-ins are relatively common in the area.
HFV Wilson Community Center Director Kelian Miller said they were able to get a replacement rental vehicle, and now the club is focusing on the competition. A parent who flew out to California Tuesday was able to bring replacement uniforms that the children must wear in order to compete.
“As for as the monetary loss we don’t have a figure yet, but people have started to call and ask what they can do to help and make donations,” Miller said. “So we’re telling people if they would like to make a donation they can come up to the Center and we’ll get it to them.”
Ardmore Parks and Recreation Director Teresa Ervin said she has been impressed with Hubbard’s handling of the situation and inspired by the children’s commitment to persevere.
“JaMia has done a great job of keeping everyone calm and reassured,” Ervin said. “This isn’t going to slow us down. Our kids are going to go give their very best, and they’re going to come out on top. Regardless of where they place, these kids are all winners.”