Education

Thousands of dollars in valuables stolen from Davis players during Grant football game

The sign in front of Grant High School, where thieves hit the locker room of visiting Davis High School football players.
The sign in front of Grant High School, where thieves hit the locker room of visiting Davis High School football players. Sacramento Bee file

Friday was a bad night for the Davis Senior High School football team. After losing 66-6 on the field, players returned to the visitors’ locker room at Grant Union High School to discover it had been ransacked and their personal belongings stolen.

Thousands of dollars in smartphones, iPads, headphones and a laptop were missing, as were wallets and money. Clothing was strewn across the floor, drenched with Gatorade and other liquids, according to Davis parent Michael Fields, who attended the game.

The Blue Devils spent the rest of the night lined up in uniform, waiting to talk to police officers about their stolen items, said Shelley Morse, another Davis parent.

“The boys coped with a real tough loss on the football field better than (with) what happened after the game,” Fields said. “They are all bummed and kind of amazed that would happen to them at a football game in a school locker room. They are really disheartened.”

At least 30 people lost property between halftime and the end of the game, said Lt. Dave Lugo of the Twin Rivers Police Department. Police are still collecting claim forms and trying to determine exactly what was stolen at the Del Paso Heights campus, he said.

Running back Cole Morse lost an expensive smartphone he had just received six weeks earlier, as well as a set of headphones and a case, said his mother, Shelley Morse. Outside linebacker Jacob Fields lost a smartphone and a $400 pair of Beats by Dre headphones.

Their parents are replacing the phones, but some players don’t have the means to replace their property, Fields said. Some of the boys worked all summer to buy their backpacks and phones, he said.

Players usually bring their personal belongings with them onto the field, stowing it behind the bench, Fields said. But they decided to leave their valuables in the locker room because it had been raining prior to the game.

Lugo said Twin Rivers officers are trying to determine how burglars got into the facility, which is locked when players are on the field. He said players are escorted from the field to the locker room by administrators, and the facility is secured in between. Only staff and administrators have keys, he said.

Grant Union High School has surveillance cameras around the entire campus, including the gym area where the locker room is located, Lugo said. Officers are reviewing the tape.

“We take it very seriously,” Lugo said.

Twin Rivers Unified Superintendent Steve Martinez said the investigation is ongoing.

“We would like to express our deep regret to the student athletes, their coaches and families for what happened,” he said in a statement. “Twin Rivers police officers and (the) school administration are doing everything possible to find out who is responsible for this unfortunate incident....We are currently reviewing protocols to ensure this never happens again.”

An email sent to parents of Davis football players Friday night said administrators from both high schools are working with the police. They encouraged students to report stolen phones to their cellphone providers, cancel credit cards and fill out police forms chronicling their losses.

Fields doesn’t believe the incident was sparked by rivalry.

“Our boys had no delusions of grandeur, thinking they were going over there to beat Grant, one of the toughest teams not only in the league but in the state,” he said. “It was an act of disrespect and entitlement. The folks that did this think of Davis as an affluent town and everyone there has a silver spoon in their mouth.”

The burglary “changes my thoughts on my boys going there,” he said. “I echo the sentiments of quite a few parents.”

Davis parents met with school officials Monday night to turn in police reports and discuss the potential of reimbursement for the stolen property. School officials updated parents on their conversations with Twin Rivers Unified, but could not provide any new details about insurance or any potential reimbursement, said parent Jim Curtis.

“The main concern of parents is getting phones back into their kids’ hands,” he said.

Curtis said his son Nathan, a defensive back and a wide receiver, leaves the house at 7 a.m. and returns from football practice around 8:30 p.m. each night. He said a phone is necessary to communicate with his son.

Curtis said it’s too bad that the burglary ruined “a nice night” and left people with negative feelings about Grant.

“It’s not all the people, it’s a few bad apples,” he said.

Twin Rivers Police Department is urging anyone with information about the burglary to call (916) 566-2777.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story was accompanied by a photograph that inaccurately reflected the story's content and has been replaced.

Call The Bee’s Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Follow her on Twitter @dianalambert.

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