New investigation begins after sports Gator is stolen again

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In the middle of the night on Jan. 25, 2020, the garage at the track was broken into and the Gator was stolen. A hole was cut in the garage door for the suspect to get inside, and the door was then opened from the inside to get the Gator out. The suspects motives are unknown, and the school is unable to report on whether or not the suspect has been apprehended.

Once the Gator was stolen, it was abandoned in the creek at Halmos Park. This is where it was found around noon later that day. This is the second time a Gator has been stolen. The first time a Gator was stolen was during the 2018-19 school year, and that Gator was not found again, forcing the school to buy a new one. The replacement Gator is the one that was stolen most recently.

To avoid this from happening again, Cuginis, a local restaurant, is raising money to buy security cameras for the track. They are taking donations from patrons to raise funds.  If the donations do not raise enough money to buy the cameras, Cuginis will pay the rest of the money needed to purchase them. If they raise more than the amount that they need, they will donate the extra money to the Booster Club, the group that helps pay for new sports equipment. Principal Mark Carothers has also been working with the school to find new ways to make PHS safer. 

“We have certain limitations with the location of our stadium that we’re investigating to see how we can improve some of the vantage points and so on, but anything that helps with security and safety is a priority,” Carothers said.

The Gator is a vehicle that the school’s sports teams use for many different types of activities. Athletic Director Regina Grubb spoke on the many uses of the Gator.

“The Gator is used for hauling; for example water coolers, equipment items, if someone gets injured we might put them on the back; and any necessary things that we need to do for field maintenance, for example softball and baseball use it to put the drag on the back on the field with it. So it’s really an all-around vehicle that we can have multiple uses for,” Grubb said. 

For multiple weeks, the hole in the garage door had a piece of cardboard covering it, and nobody was able to open it. Since then, the door has been fixed and is fully operational again. The Gator has also been repaired and returned to the garage in time for the start of the spring sports season.