December 9, 2010
Who would steal from Boy Scouts? That's the question police are trying to answer after a theft in south Wichita.
Thursday, leaders at the Martinson Avenue Christian Church in South Wichita discovered camping gear was gone, that they were storing for local Boy Scouts. The crime could force the group to cancel camping trips they've spent months planning and raising money for.
"To be this selfish to rob from little kids is disgusting, nauseating," said Melisa Gibson, mother to one of the Boy Scouts.
Gibson says she's choosing not to tell her 10-year-old son about the theft quite yet.
"He'd be heart broken... he'd be heart broken," said Gibson.
She's holding out hope the troop will still find the resources to send the boys on their January camping trip. But the church that was storing the equipment is also the church that supports the troop, and congregation leaders say fund raising won't be easy.
"We're a small congregation, mostly older, so we make ends meet. But we don't have a lot of extra just to throw out," said Church Event Coordinator Michelle O'Hara.
This isn't the first time the Martinson Avenue Christian Church has fallen victim to thieves. Two years ago, thousands of dollars of equipment was stolen from another shed, along with a trailer.
"Thing is, is if somebody would have asked, we'd have probably come up with a tent to give away if somebody just really needed one," said O'Hara.
But now with the troop out at least six tents, the January trip may not be possible. The crime is also setting the scouts back on a trek to Mt. Rushmore they've spent months fund raising for.
"To just take away from kids that have been working so hard towards a goal, especially this time of year even, I don't know how people can live with themselves," said O'Hara.
It's an especially frustrating question for families to whom the troop means so much.
"Since my son's an only child, it gives him brothers and sisters," said Gibson.
To donate, people can contact the Martinson Avenue Christian Church at 316-262-4125. Checks may be sent to 1653 S. Martinson Wichita, KS.
Anyone with information can call Crimestoppers at (316) 267-2111.