Volunteers at the Cape Coral BMX Track are asking for donations to help replace items stolen from the concession stand during two recent burglaries.
On Jan. 10, Cape police responded to the track for a burglary. Candy bars and energy drinks worth an estimated $35 were taken. Nine days later, police again responded to the track regarding a second incident.
In the second burglary, about $1,500 worth of food, candy and drinks were stolen, along with two chef's knives, two speakers and 20 bicycle tire tubes. According to police reports, the loss is estimated at approximately $1,670.
Cape resident Jennifer O'Connell, whose son David, 15, rides at the track, explained that the venue is maintained by parents who volunteer their time.
"Mainly, the city of Cape Coral - it's their property," she said, "but we take care of it. Everything is done by volunteers, by the parents."
Proceeds from the concession stand go toward maintaining the track, such as resurfacing, and toward the children and events.
"It's the only way that they have access to raise money for the kids for trophies and stuff like that," O'Connell said.
The nearly $2,000 loss in the burglaries is a big hit for the group.
"It's at least two or three months (of proceeds), if not more," O'Connell said.
Money that would have been used to ready the track for two BMX events in May now has to be used to replace the items stolen.
"We have the Florida State Race coming to the city of Cape Coral, which will bring in a lot of profit to Cape Coral," she said, adding that the second event, the USA BMX Race, is set for later in May.
The races each run three days.
"To host those, we have to have our track up to certain standards," O'Connell said.
So, the Cape Coral BMX Association is reaching out to the community to replace the stolen items, leaving its funds to take care of the track in May. Donated items are being sought, or money that can be used to buy items.
"Water, juices - anything that would help," she said.
To donate, contact Tom Lane at (239) 673-8432. Donations can also mailed to Cape Coral BMX Association, P.O. Box 151421, Cape Coral, FL 33915.
According to O'Connell, approximately 150 to 200 children use the track. Their ages range from 5 on up, and they come from all over the region.
"It gives the kids motivation to be out there - they're trying to do everything they can to stay out of trouble," she said of the track. "It's just something that they look forward to and it keep them out of trouble."