Equipment stolen from Bay Area cub scout trailer

Some Bay Area scouts learned the hard way this week that not everyone operates with a scout's honor.

The camp director discovered early Monday that someone had broken into a trailer overnight and stolen thousands of dollars worth of goods and supplies purchased for the Birch Grove Park Cub Scout summer camp in Newark.

The trailer had been parked and double locked at Birch Grove Park lot in preparation for the camp. The camp director discovered the damage about 7:15 a.m. Monday, just one hour before 110 children were supposed to start their first day of camp, leaving staff scrambling to come up with alternatives for the children.

"Just opening it up and it's basically a trailer full of shelves down the side," said Michael Andrews, the San Francisco Bay Area Boy Scouts Council Camp Director.

Andrews said at first, it didn't appear much was missing, but then, he discovered the thieves had tried to cover up the crime by putting back a large tent and other boxes to conceal the space where expensive equipment from the rear of the trailer had been stolen.

Boxes of craft supplies, hats and three large archery bows were among the stolen goods totaling more than $3,000.

"We had a whole set of leather stamping tools which are very expensive," Andrews said, showing the small metal letter presses.

Robert Cook, the camp's archery director says the archery lessons are one of the highlights for campers such as Kevin Zhang, 8, who demonstrated the technique they learn with the special Genesis type compound archery bows.

"We get to pull as long as we can and then we shoot," Zhang said, "It's kind of weird...why would someone steal a bow and arrow?"

"The compound bows they're made for us really and we have to have a different supplier for them. It's not like you can go to Archery Only or someplace to pick up these kind of bows," Cook said.

"I just don't understand why you steal these kinds of things. What you use that for. Those things can bring happiness for the kids," said Min Chen, a parent.

It is a blow to the non-profit which runs year-round programs for some 10,000 Bay Area youth.

"I would like to think that if people knew they were stealing materials that were intended to help youth have a great time outdoors all week long, that they'd have second thoughts and maybe their conscience would change their ways," Andrews said.

The cub scouts are hoping to recover their lost supplies. Although it would be too late for the children this week, the scouts still have two more camps to go this summer and say it would help those children to get the gear back.