The Bell Warriors football team will be back on the field fully suited up for their season opener this Friday.  A bag containing 18 pairs of team pants was stolen last week.  It mysteriously reappeared this morning. The team was convinced the pants were gone for good, stolen from the team manager's car last Thursday. But a plea from that manager to return them clearly resonated with whoever took them.

‘If they could just return them, come clean, I’m good with that.’

That was team manager Veronica Papalia this Monday on CTV news, pleading with whoever stole a bag out of her vehicle last Thursday. Clearly, somebody was listening because this morning, that bag mysteriously re-appeared on Papalia’s driveway.  Her husband, the coach of the team, found the bag and went running inside to tell his wife.

‘I came out and I saw the red bag with the pants and I was speechless,’ she says.  She looked inside and all 18 pairs of large pants were in the bag.  They are part of the game uniform for the Bantam level players who make up the Bell Warriors team players like 15-year-old Aidan Lundstrom, who couldn’t believe someone would have stolen them in the first place.

‘When they were stolen,’ says Lundstrom, ‘I'm like “who would steal game pants like, what's the point of that?” But I’m happy we got them back.’

The loss, worth about $1500 was a major setback for the team.  The scramble was on to try to replace them.

‘It takes a lot of time and energy to make it affordable to allow kids to play and to have people realize that and be willing to help us out was humbling and nice to see,’ says Paul Stewart, the President of the Bell Warriors Football Club, ‘It’s what community should be about.’

The Warriors were shocked at the outpouring of support for the team after our story aired on CTV News, including an offer of help from the REDBLACKS.

‘We felt connected to the story from the REDBLACKS perspective,’ says Jeff Hunt, the president of OSEG, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, ‘Minor football is such an important part of our community but those are also our future players.’

Hunt says they were trying to get the team some new pants or give them some jerseys they could auction off to buy new pants.

In the end, the bag is back, the pants were returned and a player offers this moral to the story aimed at the guilt-ridden thief.

Whoever took them, thank you for returning them,’ says 16-year-old Zach Statham-Souliere, ‘and the next time you go to steal something, think twice because it's not the right thing to do.’

CTV Ottawa: Stolen sports equipment