By: Leah Uko
OMAHA (KTPM) – First it was graffiti. Then someone stole the main air conditioner in the back.
"It's really big and it's really heavy and you can see where the copper was cut out back," John Determan showed Leah Uko.
Now the other air conditioner unit is gone—leaving the Victory Boxing Club in south Omaha with no heat or power for a short time.
"A lot of it is uh, wanting that drug money or wanting whatever addictive behavior they have and they got to support that habit," Determan, who is the head coach, continued. "I think it's a different realm of people that are stealing copper and air conditioners and are tagging buildings."
Whoever did the stealing, 13-year-old Carlos Estrada wants them to give the units back.
"If they're feeling guilty and they bring it back then that means that they really do care about themselves and their future."
Estrada said it is dangerous for boxers to be inside the building without ventilation.
"If they stole it during the summer then it'd be worse because it gets hot in here real easy when it's packed," he said.
It doesn't just make the temperature upstairs in the gym hotter, but also downstairs in the new learning center, which can damper members' health and their moral.
"Basically stealing from kids, you know. We got a lot of young guys that come in here and a lot of kids that use this place as like a getaway and a second home," said Brandon Ariza.
Kids and teenagers who do not box can still go to the club to stay off the streets, safe and out of trouble.
Determan said it is going to cost the facility up to $6,000 to replace the stolen units, but he will not get discouraged.
"As the Bible says, we can't hide in darkness. They'll get caught sooner or later," he said.
"This building, you know, he worked hard to get it. So I thought it was pretty messed up how they're just going to come and take it," Estrada said.
As for the young boxer, he said he would stay positive—and roll with the punches.
Victory Boxing Club is hosting a "Chili Feed" on Sunday, February 24th from 1-3 p.m. at 3009 R Street. It will cost $5 for each person, $15 for families of four and $2 for every additional member.
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