Sparring ring sprouts legs


How do you make away with a 20 foot-by-20 foot boxing ring on the second floor of a locked building? UNF campus recreation and UPD are searching for an answer – and nearly $3,000
in sporting equipment.

No one on campus can account for the disappearance of five punching bags valued at $500 and a boxing ring valued at $2,400 – all of which were stored on the second floor of Hodges Stadium.

Jim Baur, assistant director of campus recreation, called everyone who works in campus recreation and UNF athletics, but nobody has seen the ring or bags, he said.

The equipment in question was last seen April 1, and was reported missing by Baur on June 23 when the UNF boxing club notified him the equipment was missing.

“At this point, we can’t call it stolen, because the police haven’t finished their investigation,” Baur said.

UPD has not cleared the case, but with no leads it has suspended the investigation.

“There’s been no communication between us and them,” Baur said.

According to campus recreation director Becky Purser, the ring and punching bags – which were funded by Student Government, and therefor students’ Activity & Service fees – resided in the UNF arena until the fire marshal deemed the ring’s placement hazardous two years ago.

Since then, Hodges Stadium has been the boxing club’s de facto home, but in April the university told the boxing club they could no longer practice in the stadium due to mounting concerns about safety, Purser said.

The club disassembled the ring and left it and the punching bags beneath a tarp on the second floor of the stadium.

The ring takes about two hours to dismantle, and once the boxing club installed it in the stadium, it stayed installed until they were told to find a new practice space in April. Thieves would have had a lot of trouble stealing it if it was assembled, Baur said.

The ring went missing anywhere between one day to two months after it was dismantled. But, if someone stole it, Purser doesn’t think it was an inside job, she said.

“[The boxing club is] affiliated with other boxers around town and we just think maybe somebody knew about it and thought, ‘Iv’e got a garage that would look nice in’,” Purser said.

While there are doors which lead inside the stadium building, it is an open-air structure and the walls preventing trespassing are about seven feet tall in the lowest places. The building’s doors and elevator are locked at night, but the wall is easily scalable, Baur said.

Since the time of the theft is unknown, locks may not have even played a factor.

Similarly, the gates leading to the boxing equipment were locked, but the fence is not secured at the bottom and the perpetrators probably lifted the fence and crawled under, Baur said.

The Spinnaker staff was able to access the spot where the equipment was stored in about 5 minutes.

The area has not been under construction recently, nor was it used to host any events, which may rule out the possibility that the equipment was moved or accidentally disposed of, Purser said.

There are no cameras in the back of the building, where access is easiest, and there are a number of items such as grills and large coolers which remain on the stadium’s second floor.

Despite grim prospects, campus recreation hasn’t given up hope of recovering the stolen goods.

“If [someone] posts it on Cragslist, we’ll find you, casue I’m searching every day,” Baur said.