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Following theft corporation donates to soccer club

Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Members of the Gwinnett Soccer Association get a free lunch Monday compliments of Church's Chicken. After learning that funds had been stolen from the organization during a car break-in June 9, the corporation reached out and donated $4,000.

Staff Photo: Frank Reddy Members of the Gwinnett Soccer Association get a free lunch Monday compliments of Church's Chicken. After learning that funds had been stolen from the organization during a car break-in June 9, the corporation reached out and donated $4,000.

CHAMBLEE -- Members of a Gwinnett Soccer Association team got a free lunch Monday compliments of Church's Chicken. After learning that funds had been stolen from the team during a car break-in June 9, the corporation also reached out and donated $4,000.

The team's coach said the community as a whole has been supportive following the incident, which left the organization more than $2,500 in the hole according to reports from Lilburn Police.

"It's been amazing," said Coach Michael Samnik, who showed up with his players from the under-16 Phoenix Red team Monday afternoon at a Church's Chicken in Chamblee. "This has been a godsend."

Soccer player Alfredo Rivera, 16, said it was welcome news following the loss of their donation money.

"It's just a relief," Rivera said. "It's good to know that not everybody in this world is bad. There are some good people out there."

Last weekend's incident, however, illustrated that there are indeed some out there who will take advantage of others.

According to an incident report from Lilburn Police, officials arrived about 5 p.m. June 9 at Oyster Barn on Beaver Ruin Road, where a witness claimed to have seen a person wearing a motorcycle helmet smash the window of a vehicle belonging to a Gwinnett Soccer Association coach.

The responding officer spoke with Samnik, whose 2011 Chevy Silverado was broken in to. The report stated that the back passenger window of the vehicle had been shattered. "Mr. Samnik was having a fundraiser earlier in the day ... for his GSA soccer team he coaches. Mr. Samnik told me all the money from the day and the day before was inside the truck," the report stated.

Samnik estimated it to be at least $2,400 in cash

A witness said she saw a male wearing all black and wearing a black motorcycle helmet with a mirror face mask looking into Samnik's vehicle and another, which was also broken into (without anything being reported stolen).

The witness told police that "after the male busted both windows, he jumped on a black sport bike" and left.

According to its website, the Gwinnett Soccer Association is a nonprofit corporation "dedicated to the promotion and development of soccer in and around Gwinnett County."

Bonnie Warschauer, vice president of communications for Church's Chicken, said GSA is the type of organization that the corporation likes to get behind.

"The CEO saw the news and felt compelled to help the team," Warschauer said. In addition to the $4,000 donation and Monday's free lunch, the corporation has offered to pick up the tab during the team's upcoming on-the-road games as well.