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Community responds to Little League theft

SNOHOMISH — Thieves caused a pre-season setback when they stole approximately $3,000 worth of gear from the North Snohomish Little League in late February, but the community has rallied around the 320-player league in remarkable fashion.
“We were just checking on the field and getting things ready for the season… we went down to (the storage locker) door, it was slightly cracked and sitting on the floor was the lock,” said league president Tyler Cruze.
Cruze said the “lowlifes” lifted 20 to 25 new gloves
and about 24 brand new helmets.
“Our whole mission is to make baseball and softball affordable for all families… to come and play, and these little things increase cost and cost the league quite a bit,” Cruze said.
It wasn’t the first theft at the Snohomish Youth Sports Complex. “We’ve dealt with a number of different things,” including attempts to steal heaters, hoses and a pressure washer, Cruze said.
Police are increasing patrols around the complex and investigating the theft, said Sergeant Mike Martin of the Snohomish Police Department.
The stolen baseball equipment was intended in part for scholarship players who didn’t have the means to buy gear. The league also planned to replace some worn out catcher’s mitts and possibly auction off a gear bag as a fundraiser.
The Seattle Mariners and lawn care company Scotts had donated most of the stolen items last year. The league complex had its bleachers stolen previously.
When league managers discovered the theft, Ryan Ellis, a league board member, coach and parent, was inspired to launch a GoFundMe campaign.
Local businessman Jeff Cymbaluk said he’d followed and supported local little league for years. He said when he heard the news, it wasn’t hard to make the right decision. His $1,800 donation pushed the fundraiser past its goal in only two days.
Dozens of individuals and businesses had stepped up to pinch hit for the team with $3,970 in donations as of press time Monday, eclipsing its $3,000 goal.
“I’m blown away,” Ellis said. He and Cruze wanted the community to know how grateful they were to everyone who contributed cash as well as gift cards, certificates, and coupons for new gear.
Cruze said any extra money beyond its $3,000 goal would be reinvested into the league, probably starting with a desperately needed new lawnmower. Ellis said some of that reinvestment would take the form of scholarships for more players in need.
Anyone who would like to help can donate through the league’s GoFundMe page at The team is equally happy to have volunteers for its field work days on March 10 and 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Snohomish Youth Sports Complex is located at 9621 115th Ave. SE. More information is available at


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