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PAL Summer Program in Danger

Kayaks stolen from end of Aquatic Park lot; PAL seeks donations, police seek tips.

Someone dashed the dream of middle school students hoping to spend summer days kayaking in a Berkeley Boosters PAL program that serves low-income, urban youth.

As police probe who stole a trailer containing kayaks, life jackets and other program essentials from the far north end of Aquatic Park, Berkeley Boosters is appealing for donations so the popular program can continue.

“There are so many kids who benefit from this program,” said program director Sele Uperesa. “All the middle schools in Berkeley participate.”

The theft also hurts those who participate in the free after-school kayaking program during the school year, she said.

Kayaking camp is “one of the core pieces” in the Berkeley Boosters slate, which specializes in getting kids out of the city. Its offerings include two-week mountain biking, backpacking and sailing camps, and a day-long deep sea fishing excursion. The organization makes payment plans and scholarships available; no one is ever turned away for want of tuition.

“With that trailer, we can take the kids anywhere,” Uperesa said. “We can do some habitat exploration, bird watching, pick blueberries.”

Insurance will not cover the kayaks, valued at as much as $2,000 each.

On April 13 the life jackets turned up in an Oakland Dumpster.

The lot is owned by the city of Berkeley and leased to the Berkeley Water Ski Club. The Berkeley Boosters have stored the kayaks in the spot for four years without incident.

Those who wish to donate money can do so through Paypal on the website, or by sending a check to P.O. Box 17, Berkeley, CA 94701.

Those with information about the theft are asked to call the Berkeley Police property crimes division at 510-981-5737.

John Doh! April 27, 2012 at 05:52 AM
Wow, racist much?
ronmelancon April 27, 2012 at 10:29 PM
You will never find the missing trailer and 15 States help you steal trailers...and the police do not care and will not help. www.dangeroustrailers.org One popular scam is to buy a manufactured trailer, insure it, then remove the VIN and report it as stolen. Re-branding it as a homemade trailer with a new license plate can be as simple as filing bogus paperwork with another state. Melancon did this recently to prove his point. He applied from Virginia for a Maine trailer license with a fabricated VIN (ST467OL499EN17I99AM). For a $50 fee, he received his license plate in the mail with official documentation. Apparently no one noticed the message hidden in the VIN if you remove the numbers: STOLEN I AM.
APAL May 03, 2012 at 10:25 PM
The Albany Police Activities League is happy to be able to make a donation to help replace some of your kayaks. Our check is on it way.

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