Thief gets the spoils
By CRAIG McTEAR
IT was one of the finest examples of team spirit ever seen in Coffs Harbour. Northern Storm hammered Coffs Coast Tigers 4-1 in their all age third division men's soccer clash at York Street Oval last Saturday, but that triumph soon turned sour. While they'd been slogging it out on the field, little did they realise a thief was lurking in their midst. Some time during the second half, an intruder crept into the Tigers' dressing room and grabbed players' mobile phones and wallets. All up, $2500 in cash went out the door, never to be seen again. However, some empty wallets were later found dumped in bushes nearby. "I thought they were just joking when they told us," Northern Storm player Chris Hart said. "It was unbelievable. Obviously, they were pretty distressed." But then, in an extraordinary goodwill gesture, the Northern Storm players who'd stayed behind dug deep and chipped in $100. "We put that together for one of the guys who was down $700. That was all his food money and his rent money," Chris said. Chris, who is also his club's junior coaching director and media officer, is going to take a collection tin to York Street today and the next few Saturdays for people who want to help the Tigers. "The culprit has preyed on people who probably have no more wealth than what he does. That's what sticks in my craw," he said. "I've got to say that disgusted as I was in the behaviour of the person who did this, I am very, very proud to be a member of my team which put in. "It certainly shows the spirit of the club and the people I am proud to call my friends." Tragically, footy players can no longer afford to be so trusting ? the York Street dressing rooms are now going to have to be locked at the start of each game. The canteen in the same amenities block was broken into only the night before the big match. That was the fifth hit there in seven weeks. n Football officials say a man seen near the amenities block last Saturday afternoon could be the one police are looking for. He is described as having a medium build, average height, wearing a green Bunnings wet weather poncho and riding a pushbike. If you can help with the investigations, contact Coffs Harbour police on 6652 0299.