By Brian Park
Great Opportunities, a local nonprofit that aims to inspire underprivileged children through outdoor activities, is asking for the public’s help after their equipment was stolen from a storage van last week.
The break-in was discovered Friday when Eric Groos, co-founder and vice chairman of the organization, went to the van to retrieve a bicycle for a young boy. The van, which serves as a mobile storage unit, is often parked behind Las Golondrinas and below Best Western in San Juan Capistrano.
Groos discovered the van’s wind wing had been opened and most of the gear missing. Groos said the thief, or thieves, made off with dive gear, boogie boards, surf boards, bicycles and other equipment.
“The gear in there wasn’t new or fancy. It’s just gear we use for the kids to use for the ocean,” said Groos, who added that computers donated by Southern California Edison were also stolen.
The sheriff’s department was contacted but Groos is pessimistic the items will be recovered.
Groos said most of Great Opportunities’ equipment is donated and many paired items are mismatched. One identifying mark Groos said the public can keep an eye out for is a pair of green, spray-painted lines along the bottom of most of the gear.