Girls softball team's equipment vandalized, torched in Northeast Philadelphia

Alyana Gomez Image
Wednesday, January 3, 2024
Girls softball team's equipment vandalized, torched in NE Philly
Girls softball team's equipment vandalized, torched in Northeast Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A senseless act of vandalism on New Year's Day has now left the Penn Academy softball team with little to no equipment ahead of their spring season.

"We're three months away from hitting the field. We have a lot of work to do," said Drew Garfield, coach and field director for Penn Academy softball.

Around 9 p.m. on Monday, the team's equipment shed at Thomas Holme Park in Northeast Philadelphia was destroyed. The locks were broken off with a 4x4, the drink machine was smashed to pieces with a baseball bat and their only quad was torched.

"Rolled the quad out, stuffed rags in it and lit it on fire and then posted three pictures to Instagram," said Jim Dagostino, director of softball for Penn Academy.

The photos, which are now part of the arson investigation, were posted and then quickly removed from an account that no longer exists.

Dagostino says he believes a couple of kids caused the damage, costing the team which is run by a non-profit, thousands of dollars in damages.

"There's no consequences so kids think they can get away with anything, trying to impress their friends on social media so they do things like this," said Dagostino.

City and state leaders came out to ball field to see the damage for themselves, vowing to work with police to prosecute the vandals, while also pitching in to help the team.

"We need to do anything we can to support them. That's why I'm here today and that's why Senator Dillon and Representative Gallagher and I are gonna sit down, get a wish list from them and see if we can make those wishes come true," said Philadelphia City Councilman Mike Driscoll.

There is a plan to have a community cleanup event at the park on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to remove the graffiti.

There was no word on any possible suspects.