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Thieves Target Natomas Fireworks Stand

NATOMAS -- There's a sophisticated story behind the overnight theft at a fireworks stand at the corner of Del Paso and Truxel in Natomas.

"It was either a blowtorch or a plasma cutter or something along those lines, because they actually cut into the container-locking mechanism and they were able to jam that open and get into the container," said Mike Gutierrez, vice president of the Natomas Jr. Nighthawks.

The thieves stole $7,200 of fireworks from the large, metal container that was secured and only sitting about 50 feet away from the fireworks stand.

"They took all of the big-ticket items, as you would say," Gutierrez said.

"You can pay for security, but my God. We're at 125 kids, a nonprofit. It's enough to just pay for the supplies, and then pay for a security guard? We can't afford that," said Mike Smith, president of the Natomas Jr. Nighthawks.

In a lot of ways, stands like this one have a bullseye on their back over the next several nights, and this wasn't the only call Sacramento police were looking into.

"Last year, they tried to get in and they were unable. So it kind of gave us a false-sense of security," Gutierrez said.

"So yeah, when we go $7,000 in the hole, you know what, we'll figure it out," Smith said.

The Jr. Nighthawks are hoping to open their stand Friday afternoon, but are waiting on replacement supplies. The money usually goes toward buying uniforms and helmets for kids in the program.

While it's been a rough start for their fundraising efforts, they're not giving up hope.

"You know, our goal is we want people to basically come out and just buy from our booth. That's, that's all I ask," Smith said.