Read’s Sporting Goods robbed, receives outpouring support from customers

Local News

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — A local business is trying to make up the losses after burglars broke in Sunday night stealing thousands of dollars worth of inventory.

Read’s Sporting Goods in Bloomington is receiving support after thieves broke in and emptied the shelves full of merchandise, cash and other belongings.

Owner Bill Read said it’s been a slow year with many baseball seasons being put on hold due to COVID-19. While the burglary is just another blow to the business, he said the support they’ve received is leaving them speechless.

“It’s sad, we haven’t had anything like this happen in years,” Read said.

The burglars took thousands of dollars worth of baseball gloves and other sporting goods. Read said they knew what they wanted was worth money.

“Basically, they took all of our upper-end baseball gloves and softball gloves,” Read said. “I’m not too bright, but I’m thinking they knew what they were doing and what they were after.”

Read, who owns the store with his family, said the burglars targeted not just inventory but also took priceless personal items.

“This store is almost our home, we basically live here,” Read said. “We have lots of stuff we’ve collected over the years (and) they got some of that. It’s stuff that can’t be replaced and no monetary value except it was special to us.”

The pandemic has been a rough time for all small business owners, especially a sporting goods store with no sports left to play.

“There’s been no football, there’s been no baseball,” Read said. “We haven’t had sports since mid-March, it’s tough on us, players and coaches.”

The Bloomington-Normal Baseball Association is stepping up to help its longtime partner. Director Paul Thompson said the shop has been supplying uniforms to area teams for years.

“We buy a lot of equipment from them and we normally pay for it in April/May, but we decided we’re going go ahead and pay for it now, so they have some cash-flow,” Thompson said.

Thompson said on Facebook he’s encouraging BNBA families to buy gift cards to Read’s this holiday season, as they’re 10% off regular price. He wants people to support a small, family owned store.

“They’re a very good family strong and good for this community,” Thompson said.

Read said he’s speechless and had trouble finding words to express his gratitude to Thompson and other lifelong customers.

“I don’t know how to put it into words, there are so many good people out there,” Read said. “We’re lucky, we have lots of good friends and certainly business has changed over the years, but I just cant express how many nice people are out there. Overwhelming is about the only thing I can say.”

Read also said having been in business over a century, they’ll survive the pandemic and the unfortunate burglary.

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