LAURINBURG – A ride to benefit Outback ATV Park begins today after the park was hit by thieves for the second time this year targeting the park rather than its guests.
On Tuesday, someone broke into a conex trailer at the facility on McGirt’s Bridge Road and stole two side by side all-terrain vehicles, a weed eater, hedge trimmer, two chain saws, two generators and a DE Walt radio, hitting the park for a total of $34,800, according to Lt. Kelly Jacobs with the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.
The park may have been hit by someone the owners trusted.
“The deputy didn’t see any signs of forced entry, so it’s possible that it was someone with the combination,” Jacobs said.
The sheriff’s office is following up on the crime and is asking that anyone with information call 911 or 910-26-3385.
The park’s owner Mike Gipson is confounded at having been targeted.
“It was a pretty big hit for us,” Gipson said. “It was totally devastating. We don’t come from money, and it’s been a grinding process. It took us eight years to get here. We created a park that everybody can afford to ride in. We’re knocked back by everything.”
Friends of and associates of Gipson have stepped up in hopes of helping him recoup the loss.
John Foster of Corby DJ Solutions in Clayton and Vince Rogers of Capital Power Sports in Wake Forest have put together a benefit ride at Outback to support Gipson and his wife Connie.
The weekend long event starts at 5:30 today and continues until Sunday.
The cost is $5 per person and $10 per machine per day, camping is free unless riders want an RV site with power and water for $20.
On Saturday at 8 p.m., hip-hop artist Ray Gotti will perform a free concert to thank riders for supporting the event.
Foster has worked with Gipson for four years and is troubled that his friend was victimized.
“Mike is one of the most gentle people I know. For somebody to steal from him is unthinkable because he’s always done everything he could to give and help people out,” Foster said.
Jacobs reminds residents to make sure they keep track of the vehicle identification numbers on their ATV and serial numbers on their items.
“Document all of your property if you don’t have a serial number take a picture of it. It’s so much easier for us to identify your property if we have a serial number,” Jacobs said.
In April and May, six four wheelers belonging to visitors to the park were stolen from an event.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169