Thieves have broken into RSPCA South Australia’s Whyalla premises and stolen thousands of dollars worth of power tools, many of them almost brand new.
In a crime Whyalla’s sole RSPCA Inspector Andre Sliedrecht has described as ‘heartless’, the thieves cut through wire fences of neighbouring properties in order to access the shed containing the tools.
They then cut two holes in the back of the shed, before making their escape with a range of power tools including welders, grinders, electric saws and chainsaws.
RSPCA had only recently purchased the tools to build improvements to their animal accommodation.
“Everything was insured, but we need these tools right now because we’re in the middle of a volunteer project to build a park for the animals to exercise and explore,” Inspector Sliedrecht said.
“We’re already overstretched, and then to have this happen – it’s upset all of us.
“Some of our volunteers were in tears when they heard about it.”
Inspector Sliedrecht stressed that no animals were at risk as they are housed in a secure section, well separated from the location of the shed containing the stolen tools.
A forensic team from Whyalla police spent several hours at the scene on Friday.
Meanwhile, a local security company – ESS Security Services – has offered nightly patrols of the premises free of charge for the next 12 months.
A spokesperson for the company, Juan Estepa, described the crime as alarming for the whole community.
“I thought it was disgusting to break into a place that is so important to us all,” Mr Estepa said.
“It’s just a relief that they weren’t after the animals. You can replace consumables, but you can’t replace them.”
Anybody who wishes to make donations to assist RSPCA in its recovery from the theft is asked to contact the shelter on 8644 0172 during opening hours – 12noon to 4pm week days.