HOBART | A former Hobart man promised parents a traveling baseball team for their 11-year-olds but instead stole more than $3,000 and skipped town, police said.
The former Hobart man, who moved back to Illinois, is expected to be charged with up to 11 counts of theft, Hobart police Lt. David Grissom said.
"Parents put faith in this guy, but when it came to running the team, all he took was money. I feel sorry for the kids because they are the ones who will suffer," Grissom said.
Hobart Detective David Evans, who is investigating the case, said the amount stolen from parents may be up to $6,000.
The parents contacted Hobart police Thursday after the coach set up a meeting at Hobart High School and then never showed up, Grissom said.
One of the moms, with whom the coach had resided, attempted to contact him, but his phone was out of service.
The parents told police they first met the future coach in September about forming a new team the next year to be called Hobart Storm.
The man, who was introduced through the mom of one of the players, touted his experiences in coaching and traveling baseball.
He also told parents the cost would be $675 per player with $45 due immediately for practices at the Hobart High School field house, police said.
In addition to the $675, parents said they also took part in a fundraiser in which $1,000 was raised for the team and given to the coach, police said.
In March, the coach emailed parents that he was moving back to Illinois because of family issues but still was planning to manage the team.
Then, on April 5, the coach emailed the parents that he was no longer going to be able to manage the team. He advised them he wanted to meet with them to give them refunds minus checks paid to use the field house, police said.
Police said the former Hobart man also is alleged to have falsified his coaching experience at other local schools, including those in Munster and Tri-Town.