Stolen Sarnia youth flag football league jerseys recovered

Weekend disappointment was replaced by joy and relief Monday for the head of a Sarnia youth flag football league.

Weekend disappointment was replaced by joy and relief Monday for the head of a Sarnia youth flag football league.

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A parcel holding $5,000 worth of jerseys and equipment, including 25 footballs, was stolen Saturday from Kate Brandon’s front porch in the city just days before the start of the Bluewater Flag Football youth league’s second season and then on Monday the parcel was returned to her by Sarnia police.

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“I am excited,” Brandon said.

She had been facing Monday’s open night of the season and breaking the news to 110 of the kids in the league that their jerseys had been stolen.

Brandon, the league owner and executive director, and a group of volunteers spent hours on the weekend canvassing the city in search of the parcel that was delivered to her home while she wasn’t there, and then taken by someone.

“I honestly feel like this isn’t a theft from me,” Brandon said Monday morning before the parcel had been recovered. “It’s a theft from our youth in the community.”

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Police issued a news release Sunday asking anyone with information about the incident to call the police station.

Brandon said around noon Monday police contacted her and said they recovered the missing items after someone in the community reported finding the parcel in bushes behind an apartment complex near London Road and Mitton Street.

“Everything’s there,” she said. “I am so happy, so grateful that everything is coming together for tonight. I’m over the moon.”

She said it could have been heartbreaking for the youngsters showing up at Monday and expecting to get their jersey, if the parcel hadn’t been recovered.

“The kids love having these jerseys, so much,” Brandon said.

“I’m grateful for the community for spreading the word.”

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The Sarnia league is working with the official flag football league of the NFL and coming up on its first anniversary, Brandon said.

It began last spring with 60 children and now has 280, ranging from ages four to 17, Brandon said.

“I know these kids are excited and I know they’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for our spring season to arrive,” she said.

“Saturday was an awful day,” she said. Her fiancée broke his ankle and Brandon was at the hospital with him when the parcel arrived, without notice.

Brandon said her home surveillance system captured video of a suspect making off with the jerseys before she returned home.

“My neighbor actually tried to chase him in hopes he would drop the parcel,” she said.

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