When Boy Scout Troop 503 jumped from 15 to 40 members in February, the boys rallied to sell about 10,000 candy bars by August to help buy more equipment to accommodate the new Scouts.
Last week, about $4,000 worth of the troops gear, much of it new, was stolen from a storage container outside the church where the Scouts meet in the 10500 block of 136th Street East.
They noticed the container had been broken into when they went to get supplies for a popcorn fundraiser Friday, and they last had seen the gear at a troop meeting Oct. 8.
Among the stolen items are 18 new tents, canopies and propane stoves.
Most of the supplies are clearly marked with the Boy Scouts of America logo or the troops number.
The real losses for Scout Dylan Russ, 13, are an irreplaceable ax that was stolen and a troop box that was broken.
The chuck box, a wooden chest, was decorated by the troop. Scouts found the ax on a 50-mile canoe trip and restored it.
"The last day when there was a storm, there was an ax there and we kind of refurbished it and brought it back to our troop, and so I guess that kind of means something to me that it was stolen," Russ said. "I dont know why someone would do that. Its just kind of uncool, I think, and I hope people will try to help get our stuff back.
The theft wont stop the Scouts from taking a fishing and crabbing trip to Westport thats planned for two weeks from now, but it will make it more difficult.
We have some really old tents that take like 30 minutes to set up and the other ones took, like, 30 seconds, said Scout Wyatt Gill, 10. If they wanted something, they could have asked for it, but instead they had to steal it.
Other local troops have offered to lend 503 gear to help with the trip, and some parents have offered up personal camping supplies.
Were not going to let this stop us from camping, said Dylans dad, assistant Scoutmaster Daniel Russ. Were going to find a way.
The Pierce County Sheriffs Department is investigating the theft.
Anyone with information is asked to call Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers at 253-591-5959. Tips are anonymous, and information leading to an arrest and charges can earn up to a $1,000 reward.
Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268