The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why The Capistrano Dispatch is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

By Brian Park

Boogie boards and other equipment have been marked with two green, spray-painted lines like above. Courtesy photo
Boogie boards and other equipment have been marked with two green, spray-painted lines like above. Courtesy photo

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.

If any gear is spotted, the public is asked to contact San Juan Capistrano police services at 949.770.6011. Great Opportunities also accepts donations year round and can be reached at 714.299.0912 or via email at

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Capo Dispatch