Thursday, May 24, 2018
Public safety

Land O'Lakes teen accused of stealing concession stand inventory

LAND O'LAKES — The suspects rode in on their bicycles, deputies say. They left almost nothing behind.

Just after midnight Friday, two teenagers broke in through a loose window of a concession stand at Land O'Lakes Recreation Center on Collier Parkway, a Pasco County Sheriff's report states.

One of them, a 17-year-old boy, stood as a lookout while the other boy, 16, stuffed the loot into a garbage can: M&M's, peanut M&M's, scores of chocolate bars, Sour Punch straws, Air Heads, Ring Pops, Skittles, sunflower seeds and a Nintendo Game Boy — all worth $778.

A nearby safe was left untouched.

The 16-year-old dragged the trash can full of candy across the road and hid it in a bush, the report says. He gave some of the sweets to the 17-year-old and took the rest of the candy home and hid it under his mattress.

The Tampa Bay Times is withholding the boys' names because of their ages.

Saturday was the first day of Little League baseball practice at the recreation center. Volunteers had just finished stocking the concession stand the night before. Concessions director Alissa Canter said she arrived to find "very little" left.

"This loss affects all members of our league as it is with your registration fees that we purchased this merchandise," the Land O'Lakes Little League board of directors wrote in an email to parents.

By Monday afternoon, tips had led deputies to the boys. The 17-year-old had taken some of the candy to Sunlake High School, where both of the boys are students, and was handing it out to other students, the report says.

The 16-year-old was arrested by a school resource deputy on charges of burglary and grand theft and taken to the Land O'Lakes Juvenile Assessment Center.

Because he was the lookout and didn't go into the stand, the 17-year-old was not arrested. It will be up to the State Attorney's Office to decide whether to charge him, sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said.

The league is still recuperating from the loss, Canter said.

"We're just going to have to deal with it," she said. "It's ridiculous that some people have to steal from other people. It's dishonest."

Alex Orlando can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

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