Quentin McCardle figured something was amiss when he saw the graffiti.
The Poplarville Athletic Association’s youth concession stand at Bill Watson Park is normally painted a deep green and gold in support of the Poplarville Hornets. When McCardle, the PAA’s president, showed up to the field Monday evening ahead of practice, a fluorescent profanity on the wall greeted him.
“That threw up a red flag,” McCardle said Tuesday. “At first I thought someone had just spray painted the building, then I saw the lock was busted off the door and I knew something much worse had happened.”
McCardle estimates more than $6,000 worth of damage was done to the concession stand between when coaches were last there Saturday morning and when they returned Monday around 5 p.m.
The laundry list of damage included broken windows on the beverage refrigerators, broken windows on the concession stand, demolished cash register, popcorn oil drenched new uniforms and Snocone syrup and spray paint covered new football helmets and shoulder pads. The vandals also stole seven new footballs that were just purchased for the upcoming season.
“The whole purpose of why we're out there is to keep kids off the streets so they don't do stuff like this,” McCardle said.
The PAA has been slowly raising money over the last couple of years so the children of Poplarville can have their own football field and not have to borrow the high school’s.
“That's the thing. Here in Poplarville, our rec. leagues are all parent-supported. We don't get any budget money from county or city. We pay our own light bill and insurance,” McCardle said. “It looks like now all of that money will have to go to repair what was damaged and better secure the facilities.”
McCardle posted several photos on the PAA’s Facebook page — “I couldn’t put all of the pictures on Facebook because what the graffiti said” — and within 24 hours it had been shared more than 1,000 times.
McCardle said folks from Jackson and the Coast have reached out in support. He even started a GoFundMe.com account to try and raise money to replace what was damaged and stolen.
Even folks from the Saucier Youth Organization reached out to Poplarville. McCardle was particularly moved by their support considering their equipment room was recently broken into.
According to the Saucier Youth Organization’s own GoFundMe.com page, $6,500 worth of equipment was stolen.
“The funds we receive from registration fees and concession sales are barely enough to operate,” the post says. “With expenses such as chartering fees, umpire/ref fees, insurance, uniforms, etc... we just do get by.”
Anyone with information pertaining to the Poplarville break-in is asked to contact Poplarville Police Chief Butch Raby at 601-795-4447.