TAMPA (FOX 13) - Jose Fernandez's former coach and principal in Tampa put out a plea Thursday for the return of Fernandez's Alonso High School jersey, which was stolen following a candlelight vigil a night earlier.
As many as 600 friends and fans gathered at Alonso to remember Fernandez, who was killed Sunday in a boating accident. Fernandez, 24, led his high school baseball team to two state championships before becoming an All Star Major League Baseball player with the Miami Marlins.
"It boggles my mind just that somebody would do something like that, especially when we're doing something nice for Jose and just thinking of him and knowing that he's not going to be with us anymore," said Landy Faedo, Alonso High School's baseball coach.
Faedo said there were two jerseys on display during the vigil: a framed one that was placed on the field and one hanging in the dugout.
The one in the dugout, which actually belongs to Faedo, was stolen some time toward the end of the event.
"I was so irate last night that I called the Sheriff's Department and drove back over here to meet with a couple of the deputies," Faedo said. "That one I just brought out so people could see it, so when they first walked in the dugout, they'd see that number 16 there and they'd just give him a quick thought about Jose real quick."
School administrators don't think an employee or a student would have stolen the jersey.
Principal Ken Hart was stunned when he found out.
"I said, 'are you kidding me? I mean, seriously, are you kidding me?'" Hart told FOX 13, adding the jersey symbolizes more than baseball. "It's really a symbol of a dream fulfilled, a life cut short, but it's really a symbol of all that's good about athletics and sports."
Hart said he just wants the jersey returned, "no questions asked."