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Texas Community's Little League Forced to Shut Down After $20k Stolen

The loss of the money forced the Southeast Arlington Little League to shut down its fall season, leaving 150 kids unable to play at Cravens Park

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The former president of the Southeast Arlington Little League is accused of stealing more than $20,000 from the league's business account. Claudia Yamell Castillo, 34, is free on bond.

    An entire youth baseball league in Texas has been shut down for the season after its former president was arrested for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the team's bank account.

    Claudia Yamell Castillo, 34, is charged with stealing more than $20,000 from the Southeast Arlington Little League's business account. Arlington police arrested her Thursday morning.

    The league said that the investigation determined that Castillo made charges unrelated to league activity and unauthorized cash withdrawals. The financial discrepancies were addressed in August at a board meeting during which Castillo was relieved of her duties.

    The league's vice president, Tammy Wilson, contacted police Sept. 2 to report the theft.

    Wilson told NBC 5 that the loss of the money forced the Little League to shut down its fall season, leaving 150 kids unable to play at Cravens Park. The missing money was slated to go toward everything from field rentals to concessions to uniforms and equipment

    "It's just hard," she said. "It's empty. The hardest part is disappointing the kids and not being able to tell them why."

    Wilson said Castillo was a friend, which only adds to the pain.

    The league's finances are driven by donations and sponsors, and it is now reaching out to the community for support.

    "We will come back bigger and stronger, and we will have rules in place to prevent this from ever, ever happening again," Wilson said. "The kids need to play baseball."

    Castillo is free on a $25,000 bond. Efforts to contact her for comment were unsuccessful.

    Southeast Arlington Little League has dealt with other losses. In the spring of last year, the league's concession stand was broken into five times. The burglars either busted through deadbolts or pried their way through a rolling door. Once inside, they smashed the alarm.

    The league said it couldn't afford to keep replacing the $200 alarm after each burglary. The city of Arlington paid for damage to the doors and stepped up police patrols.