LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- The Green Mountain Jr. Football 6th grade team is scrambling to replace equipment that was stolen earlier this week before a game on Saturday.
Coach Robert Strong told Denver7 that they loaded up the rolling equipment chest in the back of his pickup before heading to practice on Monday.
"We put all the equipment in there, and when we're done, we close this guy up and make sure it's secure," he said, pointing to the tailgate. "Unfortunately, we didn't get the job done. Left the tailgate unlatched and with the construction on Alameda, it ultimately bounced out the back."
Strong said once he got to practice, he noticed the chest was missing, so he retraced his route, but couldn't find it, adding that another driver posted online that they saw the chest in the road, stopped and pushed it off to the side.
Someone else had picked it up.
Personal info stolen
It's not just football, football tees and air pumps that disappeared, Strong said. So did personal paperwork, like birth certificates, report cards and utility bills.
"That's not good," said team mom, Marlene Ward. "I know it's not his fault, but it's a lot of personal information about the team, including birth dates and addresses."
Ward said she's worried about possible identity theft.
The coach said no one's social security numbers were included.
When asked why players had to turn in those documents, Strong replied, "There's a very strict documenting process for the children to be able to play, to prove their grades, birth certificates, prove their local address. All teams have to do that. It just helps promote fair play for everyone."
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help replace the stolen equipment.
Coach Strong said it's fantastic that people are willing to help.
"If they help us, that's great," he said, "but otherwise go to Jeffcofootball.com and find your local organization. They're all over town. Find your local team and support them as much as you can."
He said it's all about helping young men.
"We don't get to determine, or have control over the home lives of some of these boys that we work with," he said. "I can tell you from my own experience growing up, part of the reason I'm here is how I was blessed with people in my life. When my father wasn't around, or when there was turmoil at home, I had a safe place to go."
Strong said, "at the end of the day, when somebody steals from you, it's less about the tangible, replaceable items or monetary value. It's more about how it impacts your heart."