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BOISE A Special Olympics team from Moscow may have to miss the 2014 State Winter Games in Sun Valley in two weeks after someone broke into a storage unit and stole their sports equipment.

Moscow Rebels head coach Elizabeth King discovered the theft Saturday morning. She said the team has been training hard all season and this is a crushing blow. They had just returned from a regional competition and were excited for the state games which start on Feb. 28.

Anytime crime affects our community it is a loss, but this was a devastating blow for our athletes, said Special Olympics Idaho's Director of Sports and Training Opey Freedle. After all the hard work put into training for State Games, it's a tragedy that this team may miss out on the chance to showcase their skills and abilities, and compete for the Gold at State. The answer is up to the community now. We will do what we can on our end to make sure they get the chance to compete. But we'll need help to get them there.

The Moscow Rebels have already accepted donations of money and equipment from three other teams. However, they still need support from the community.

They are in need of snowshoe and Nordic ski equipment. If they can t borrow the gear, then they hope to rent it for the state games.

If you would like to assist the team in renting equipment for the 2014 State Winter Games in Sun Valley, or would like to donate snowshoes or skiing equipment, please contact Pam Lisenbe, Special Olympics Northern Idaho Regional Director, at 208-659-0172 or email pam@idso.org.

If you have any information concerning the theft of the Moscow Rebels sports equipment, please contact the Moscow Police Department at 208-882-2677.

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