ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – What started out as a day of fun fundraising for the La Cueva Bears YAFL freshman team turned into a huge disappointment.
“It bothers me most that it was from kids,” said Leslie Alvarado, a mom of one of the 10-year-old players.
Alvarado said the team found themselves victim to a crime while holding their first fundraiser of the season at the Applebee’s at San Mateo and Academy Saturday morning.
“It was an opportunity to get together and raise the money for their uniforms,” said Alvarado.
She said the kids made posters and flagged down drivers to come in and eat at the restaurant. The young football players served them up a pancake breakfast.
“At the end of the fundraiser we got together in a booth to count up the proceeds and then to make sure that we paid Applebee’s,” said Alvarado.
In all, they raised a whopping $2,300. Alvarado says she put the money in a bag and placed that on a booth table. She stepped away for just a minute to give Applebee’s its share of the money. When she returned, the money was gone.
“I feel defeated when someone takes something that doesn’t belong to them,” said the mom.
Alvarado said all morning there was a man suspiciously lurking in a booth who didn’t buy food and didn’t want the kids to serve him.
“One of the employees at Applebee’s also indicated that he had seen that individual running out of the restaurant and run through the parking lot,” she said.
Alvarado said the worst part of it all was explaining what happened to the kids.
“For someone to prey on them and sit in the booths throughout the day and watch them and observe them then take what they had earned is disheartening,” said Alvarado.
News 13 reached out to Applebee’s, which said it gave surveillance to police but wouldn’t provide much more information. Alvarado also said she filled out a police report.
The team has since created a Go Fund Me page, to help raise the funds taken from them.