LANCASTER – Jonathan Cornish’s budding baseball career was set back this past Valentine’s Day when burglars broke into his mother’s vehicle and stole all his equipment.
Thieves made off with the 14-year-old’s baseball bag, which contained about $1,400 worth of equipment, including his bats, cleats, and limited edition baseball glove – a birthday gift from his uncle.
“I was mad,” Jonathan said. “Like, ‘all my gear is stolen, I don’t know what I’m going to use now to play.’”
“His team was sharing stuff with him, and his coach bought him a bat,” said mother Debra Schmidt. “The family began to replace stuff, little by little.”
The family filed a police report, and held out hope that the items would be recovered. They almost caught a break this week, when Lancaster Station’s Burglary Suppression Team recovered more than 100 stolen items from a Lancaster motel room. (Read more here.)
“Some baseball equipment was recovered, however, when Jonathan went to go to try and identify his equipment, it turned out not to be his,” said deputy Miguel T. Ruiz of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
Jonathan left empty handed, but his story touched deputies.
“The deputies did recognize Jonathan as an outstanding citizen, a good kid… so they felt it in their hearts to try and help Jonathan out as best as possible,” Ruiz said.
The deputies reached out to local organizations for help, and the Lancaster JetHawks answered the call.
“When we heard about this story, we knew that we wanted to reach out and help out in any way that we could, because baseball is such a huge part of the community,” said William Thornhill, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Lancaster JetHawks.
Friday morning, the organization presented Jonathan with a pair of brand new Nike cleats, a brand new baseball helmet, a JetHawks cap and tickets to an opening game.
“We thought it would be important to get you back onto the field so that maybe one day we’ll be seeing you out on this field with the Jethawks,” Thornhill said to a grinning Jonathan.
Jonathan’s debut on the JetHawk’s field will come a lot sooner than expected. The teenager has been invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch on opening night on April 4, as the JetHawks kicks off its 2013 season. Jonathan was also given tickets for his entire family to come out and watch.
“Thank you a lot for helping me out, it’ll be fun, I can’t wait for that,” Jonathan told Jethawks officials.
Meanwhile, authorities are still on the hunt for Jonathan’s stolen items.
“The Burglary Suppression is still looking hard, they do have some suspects in custody,” Ruiz said. “We’re going to continue to try and bring back a good baseball season for anyone else who has lost or missing items.”