As if the closure of Big League Dreams in Chino Hills was not enough during coronavirus, the sports park on Fairfield Ranch Road was burglarized twice in one week last month.
Approximately $50,000 in landscape equipment, liquor, food, and a 4-wheel ATV was stolen during the first burglary reported May 11 and more landscape equipment and a vehicle was stolen during the second burglary reported May 17, according to city and police officials.
The day after the first burglary was reported, deputies responded to the 3200 block of Paisley Drive in Chino Hills and recovered the stolen quad, returning it to a Big League Dreams employee, said Sgt. David Frayeh of the Chino Hills Police Department.
On May 14, in an unrelated case, investigators from the Fontana Police Department served a search warrant at a residence in the 15800 block of Willow Hill Drive in Chino Hills and found liquor, landscape equipment and personal property belonging to Big League Dreams, Sgt. Frayeh said.
The stolen items were recovered and released to a Big League Dreams employee, he said.
The subjects of the search warrants who were in possession of the stolen items were Jefferey Thomas Eidum, 38, and Karesh Desiree Fleming, 31, both of Chino Hills, Sgt. Frayeh said. They were arrested and booked at West Valley Detention Center, he said.
There are no suspect leads for the second burglary, the sergeant said.
The police department has no information to believe that former employees are responsible for the thefts.
On the horizon
Community services director Jonathan Marshall told the Parks and Recreation Commission Wednesday that he saw a memo from Big League Dreams indicating it would open the facility as soon as possible, pending state and local direction on the coronavirus.
Mr. Marshall said the operators are discussing the prospect of having a major investor come on board and do some “new and exciting things.”
He was responding to a question by Commissioner Al Jackson about the possibility of repurposing or even taking over the sports park, so the city is not taking “such a drastic loss in revenues.”
Mr. Jackson asked that the matter be placed on a future commission agenda for an indepth discussion.
According to the Chino Hills budget, the city received $1,341 in revenues from Big League Dreams in fiscal year 2017-18, $29,574 in fiscal year 2018-19, and zero in fiscal year 2019-20.
Commission chairman Greg Higgins said Thursday that in the history of the financial agreement between the city and Big League Dreams, the facility has never performed to expectations.
“Certainly, it has been made worse and exasperated due to its closure because of COVID-19, with zero revenues coming in,” Mr. Higgins said.
The 34-acre sports park that opened in 2002 is owned by the city and operated and managed by Big League Dreams USA.
Big League Dreams representatives did not return phone calls and emails by press time but Jeff Odekirk, managing director of Chino Hills Big League Dreams USA, previously told the Champion that the profit-sharing agreement was unconventional and has not worked out for either party.
Councilman Ray Marquez, who has been raising concerns about Big League Dreams for several years, said he is happy to hear about an investor and hopes “it will truly be a remarkable change.”