Crooks strike during U17 soccer match

PITCH: Police have launched an investigation into a series of thefts at Morshead Park on Friday, with Senior Constable Nick Hargraves calling for witnesses to come forward.

PITCH: Police have launched an investigation into a series of thefts at Morshead Park on Friday, with Senior Constable Nick Hargraves calling for witnesses to come forward.

Gutted Sebastopol Vikings soccer players have called on thieves to return their stolen gear.

Coaching veteran David Strachan said the theft from the change rooms occurred during a match between the under-17 blue and gold teams at Morshead Park’s top synthetic pitch sometime after 6.15pm on Friday.

“All up it would be around $1500 worth of clothes and gear taken, runners were stolen, a wallet, Fitbit, watch and shoes,” he said.

“The boys are very upset, they work part time during school to save up for these things.”

On the night, Ballarat City were training on several pitches while the Vikings used the top pitch for two under-17 games, at 6.15pm and 8pm.

Both the blue and gold teams left their gear in the adjoining changes rooms while they headed out to play the 6.15pm match.

But upon returning to the rooms after the game they noticed their clothes were gone, with nothing to change into.

Some players also noticed a wallet and watch had been taken.

Mr Strachan said the boys had left gear in the change rooms before without incident.

“With the way it’s set up anyone can walk through and if somebody knows the layout they may know nobody would be watching the change rooms when a game’s on,” he said.

“They could have gone in a front door and then gone out the back, it’s a possibility. But the boys had felt comfortable leaving their stuff in there.”

Mother Shirley Liddy, whose son’s winter coat and shoes were stolen, said it was a rotten thing to do.

“It’s a sad state when your children are playing their sport in the freezing cold and some kids steal their belongings from the change rooms, it makes you feel really sad,” she said.

“It’s sad for the kids who did this as they think it’s ok to steal.

“Not all kids who play sport can afford to replace what they took.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report to crimestoppersvic.com.au.