It's been a season of grim despair for the Brandon Lions Youth Football program, where last weekend's theft came on the heels of vandalism earlier this summer at the group's home turf at E.L. Bing Park in Seffner.
Sometime over the weekend of Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, thieves broke into the storage shed and stole 25 Riddell football helmets and eight Riddell shoulder pads, according to a report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
The black helmets sport on one side a Lion emblem and on the back a circular Hillsborough County seal. The shoulder pads are white and silver.
Earlier this summer at E.L. Bing, at 7402 Taylor Road, vandals raided the club's concession stand and administrative offices, destroying trophies, burning a signed Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey and stealing concessions, according to a report by Kevin Brady, posted at the Tampa Bay Times online Aug. 5.
An apparent attempt to blow up the building failed when the vandals tried to ignite gas from a propane tank, according to the report. The tank was empty.
Greater Brandon area residents and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers teamed up to help the Brandon Lions Youth Football and Cheerleading organization after the overnight July 30 act of vandalism.
Anyone with information about the theft and vandalism at E.L. Bing Park is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200. Anyone who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at
1-800-873-TIPS (8477). Report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or
text "CSTB plus your tip" to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637).