Stolen uniforms unite team, viewers

July 19, 2009 3:43:00 PM PDT
It's a happy ending for a Delaware youth basketball team that had their uniforms first told you their story last Friday, and Action News viewers are among those pitching in to save the day.

Team Delaware Royalty, made up of 6 to 10-year-olds, won their championship game today at the West End Neighborhood House in Wilmington. They played in borrowed uniforms of black and white.

"They let us borrow their uniforms so we could play in this tournament," team member Freddy Ryle said.

Last week, the team's uniforms of royal purple and gold were stolen out of the trunk of a car belonging to team coach Rob Turner, known to the team as Coach Rob.

"It was happy hunting for whoever decided they were going to be a thief that night," Coach Rob said.

"I just can't believe that somebody stole our jerseys," teammate Jordan Money said.

The jerseys that were stolen were valued at $600, all funds raised by the kids.

"They raised money to get the jerseys and that's depriving them of their hard work, on the court and off," coach DeKevis Matthews said.

Team Royalty would love to have the thief do the right thing and return the uniforms. Coach Rob said there would be no questions asked, but so far no purple and gold uniforms have turned up on anyone's door step.

Scholarships of 10, Inc., the group that organized this weekend's tournament, decided to pass the hat.

"Have a fundraiser, try to get people give donations to help them recoup some of their losses for their uniforms," Pam McGill of Scholarship of 10, Inc. said.

Freelance photographer Theresa Knox was one of several people moved to donate.

"When I heard the story, I felt really bad for the kids," Knox said.

Team coaches were also working the phones contacting people who called 6abc with offers of help.

Coach Rob said on Sunday, with the aid of an anonymous benefactor the team had enough money to replace the stolen jerseys.

The goal is for the team to have the new uniforms by early August when they are to depart for tournament play in New York.

"Hopefully by the end of the week, we should be ordering new uniforms or having new uniforms," Coach Rob said.