A Southern California little league is begging for the public's help and a police crackdown after vandalism of its playing field led to the discovery of a homeless camp full of the league's stolen equipment, according to the league's vice president.
The Culver Marina Little League's baseball and softball field in Marina del Rey had drug paraphernalia -- including syringes -- scattered in the dugouts, trash dumped in bathrooms, and "satanic messages" spraypainted on walls, League Vice President Matt Wind said Tuesday.
A championship softball banner was also destroyed and shoved into a toilet, and two freezers, a refrigerator and other equipment were stolen, he said.
When police came to the field to investigate the vandalism on Monday, a man ran from the back of the field and led police on a chase through the woods behind the field, Wind said.
Officers chased the man through marshland and bushes to find three people in a homeless camp full of items belonging to the little league, as well as drugs, Wind said.
"That's kind of indicative of the problem out here," he said. "Different guys and girls living in bushes around our field that we are trying to get out of here."
Los Angeles police declined to give details about arrests made in connection with the vandalism. Police would not confirm to NBC4 whether they discovered a homeless camp near the field.
The vandalism, which Wind said left the league with $15,000 to $20,000 in damage, isn't the first.
"We've been vandalized a ton," he said. "But this is the first time we've had satanic writings on the walls. They took everything that wasn't bolted down."
Wind said the field has long been a target for the homeless camp when the players are out for the off-season.
"For four months we don't play, so when they're up here...they see our area as theirs, so when we come up here and we have cops uproot them or they clean up their stuff, they get very angry," Wind said.
"Where kids are actively playing, we're finding syringes and drugs," he continued. "One of these days, some kid is going to get pricked with a syringe, and something bad is going to happen out here."
The league is desperate for help from the community to recover because they are a self-funded operation that has more than 350 children who play, he said.
"We have no support, no parks department. We cut the grass, we do everything, we run the snack bars, we clean, parents pay for everything," Wind said. "We're not a wealthy league and we have underprivileged families ... We believe every kid should be able to play baseball whether parents have money or not."
The Culver Marina Little League has been operating for nearly 60 years. Anyone who wishes to help or donate can email culvermarinaLL@gmail.com.