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Youth soccer goals stolen from Torguson Park

NORTH BEND - Who would steal soccer goals from children?

That is one of the questions vexing Bud Raisio, president of the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Soccer Association. On April 21, Raisio received an e-mail from an association volunteer saying eight of the youth soccer group's goals were missing from Torguson Park in North Bend. They have not been seen since.

"All of us [who have had children in the soccer association] own a piece of these things," he said.

For the past five years the association has been replacing its older goals with the lighter and easier to disassemble aluminum goals. They are also more expensive. Each one cost about $1,250 and were purchased to last a long time.

In the past the goals had been kept off site of the park, but recently the association had been leaving them at Torguson. When the Snoqualmie Valley Little League season started the association set the goals aside to make room for baseball equipment and the last time anyone remembered seeing the goals was in mid-April.

On April 19 the association's North Bend representative, Keely Weidenbach, got a call telling her that the goals were no longer at Torguson. After a bit of investigating, it was determined no one in the association knew where the goals were and a report was filed with the King County Sheriff's Office.

Making it all the more frustrating was that fact that the thieves may have been seen. Weidenbach said that while she was visiting Torguson with a detective from the sheriff's office, a parent came up to them and said they had seen two young men and one young woman at the park with a moving truck sometime in April during an afternoon baseball practice. It appeared as though they were checking out the equipment and the woman even started picking up sections of the goals before one of the men motioned to her to stop. The group left shortly after arriving.

Weidenbach believes those who took the goals must have been local or had at least checked out the park. The park is mostly hidden from cars on North Bend Way and there is an entrance to the park hidden behind The Pizza Place that the thieves may have used to park the truck.

"This takes a big step back for us as a league," Weidenbach said.

King County Sheriff's Office spokesman John Urquhart said it is likely the goals were stolen to be sold for scrap. Scrap aluminum is worth a lot and salvage yards, like pawn shops, wouldn't ask questions about where the merchandise came from. That doesn't mean, however, that selling soccer goals wouldn't be a suspicious activity.

"I guarantee that [the salvage yard] who buys it [the goals] will know it's stolen," he said.

There are hopes of finding the goals, but Raisio said the association is thinking of how to replace the goals in time for the beginning of soccer season in August.

* Anyone with any information on the theft of the goals can contact the King County Sheriff's Office at (206) 296-3311.

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