UH women’s water polo team heads home after $16K worth of gear stolen

Local News

The University of Hawaii women’s water polo team lost to Cal in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament today. 

It comes just two days after all their gear and equipment was stolen along with their personal belongings. 

Now, they’re working on coming home. 

The team was eating dinner at Wahlburgers in downtown Palo Alto, California around 7:45 p.m. PST on Wednesday. They were just a few blocks away from where they parked their two vans. 

Their vans were parked in a public parking lot on the corner of Waverley and Hamilton behind a CVS store.

Around 8:40 p.m., the team walked back to the vans to find they had both been broken into. 

“She called me around 9 p.m., Wednesday night and she was crying, upset and she said that both the vans got broken into and they had taken absolutely everything,” said one of the player’s mothers Ellygra DiLalla. 

Palo Alto police tell KHON2 that while it’s mostly a safe area, it’s not rare for this kind of break-in to occur. 

They also said there were no witnesses and no security footage of the crime.

DiLalla said the thief or thieves took off with cameras, laptops, hard drives and more. 

“Anything the girls carry in their bags to practice or to play with, all their water polo suits, practice suits, game suits, caps, medicine, eyeglasses, beats headphones [were taken],” DiLalla said. 

Palo Alto police estimate about $16,000 worth of gear and equipment was taken. 

Many of the girls ID’s and passports were also taken. 

According to the team roster, more than half of the players are international. 

The team says the girls who had their passports stolen have other forms of identification and will be able to make it back to Hawaii on Saturday. 

“The good thing is no one got hurt, this could be so much worse,” said UH Athletic Director David Matlin. 

“I mean these are things that are replaceable, and we’ll work on what we can do to try and replace it.”

The team says the break-in didn’t affect how they played today. 

“Of course there was a little distraction this week, but the goal was the game and we’re so excited to be here and they put their energy into it,” said Coach Maureen Cole. 

Palo Alto police are still investigating what happened. 

In a post-game press conference, the girls said they took all their anger and energy and put it towards the game. 

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