Dallas police defend how they handled cheerleader gear theft

  • Ace Athletics Cheerleading squad members practice a routine.

    Ace Athletics Cheerleading squad members practice a routine. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

Published: 2/24/2010 5:05 PM | Updated: 2/24/2010 5:41 PM

Dallas police weren't exactly cheering after reading how they supposedly handled searching for gear reported stolen over the weekend by a group of Buffalo Grove-based cheerleaders.

Dallas police spokesman Kevin Janse said Wednesday officers continue to investigate and "exhausted every avenue" in trying to locate the gear.

Speaking for the first time to the Daily Herald, Janse said it struck a nerve when he read that cheerleading coach Jeff Siegal said police didn't follow a tip on where the missing bags were because they said that neighborhood was too dangerous.

"That's a flat-out lie; an officer isn't going to say that," Janse said. The assertion that officers didn't want to enter a dangerous area is "almost comical" as "police officers get paid to do dangerous things," he added.

Two groups of cheerleaders from California also reported their bags stolen from the Dallas Convention Center, Janse said. The local cheerleaders, who practice at Ace Athletics in Mundelein, reported nine bags stolen from behind the stage while they were competing Saturday at the National Cheerleaders Association All-Star National Championship.

After the theft was reported, one of the girls called police and said her credit card had been used. She also used GPS to track her missing cell phone to a Dallas intersection. But Janse said when Dallas police arrived at the intersection, the suspects and bags weren't there.

Siegal stood by his previous comments Wednesday and said Dallas police never returned his phone calls. He praised NCA, which purchased bags to replace the ones stolen.

"The NCA was the only help for us down there," he said.