Thieves steal park bleachers on St. Helena Island

ST. HELENA ISLAND -- County workers arrived Monday at Field 2 of St. Helena Park to find something missing.

Gone were the seats, footboards and handrails of the field's aluminum bleachers. Thought to have been stolen over the weekend, the total value was assessed at $13,000, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

"I'm flabbergasted," said John Miller, director of Beaufort County Parks and Leisure Services. "Someone had to have seen this. It takes time to dismantle a set of bleachers like that."

Miller said the department planned to submit a claim to its insurance company.

"We hope to replace them prior to next season, so we've got a little bit of time now to go out and get some good pricing on a new set of bleachers," he said.

If the department decides to play fall recreation league baseball on the field, the bleachers will need to be replaced by September. Otherwise, the new bleachers will need to be installed before the start of spring baseball, he said.

The bleacher theft was the second involving parks and leisure equipment in less than a week.

Thieves stole 40 soccer goals from a county storage yard behind the Bluffton Recreation Center on Ulmer Road overnight Thursday, according to a sheriff's report released Monday.

The aluminum goals are worth about $65,800. The culprits cut a padlock and used a truck to loot the storage yard.

Thieves probably stole the goals so they could sell the metal to a scrap yard, said Joe Penale, parks director for southern Beaufort County.

A Beaufort County Sheriff's Office detective is assigned to that case.

Island Packet reporter Daniel Brownstein contributed to this report.