Youth team's jerseys stolen

July 17, 2009 4:03:00 PM PDT
Who would take a bag full of uniforms from a basketball team? That's what a volunteer coach wants to know and so do his boysWhen Robert Turner isn't coaching kids on a traveling basketball team, he's working at the Wilmington Police Department as a 911 dispatcher. So it's no wonder he wishes he heard a 911 call overnight Thursday when someone broke into his car, stealing his daughter's stroller, car seat, and his team's brand new uniforms.

"It has our team name going across the front, Royalty, and that's us and we're the only Royalty and we would like to have them back," Turner said.

Making these inner city kids feel like royalty is Turner's goal and setting goals is how the kids got the uniforms in the first place. Turner told the team with 35 players they had to win a tournament first, but only after they raised the $600 needed to buy them.

"We do this thing called tagging, where we go to a location and we basically ask the commuters to travel or help us get the uniforms and the uniforms are pretty much sponsored by the citizens of Wilmington, so it's pretty heartbreaking," Turner said.

Having the uniforms returned would score big points with these kids, and so they have just one message for the thief.

"Can you please bring me my jerseys back?" 10-year-old Jacob Hunt asked.

"I would like them to return the jerseys so we could play basketball," 9-year-old Jamal Whittlesey said.

The kids are practicing for a tournament this weekend, but they'll have to wear borrowed uniforms. Turner doesn't know what he'll do next week when the team is scheduled to play in New York.

The coach promises no questions will be asked if the uniforms are returned and that can be done at the PAL Center on Market Street, otherwise they will have to raise a lot of money to replace that was taken from them.