By Brendan Rees
Tooradin’s junior football club has been left hundreds of dollars out of pocket after being hit by heartless thieves three times in recent weeks.
Players at the Rutter Park Memorial Reserve club were unable to have showers for about four weeks after thieves stole two hot water units from a locked cage.
In a second theft, the club’s vice-president Jeff Arbuckle said he noticed two 45kg gas bottles were missing when he attended an Auskick session on Friday 26 July
The club wasn’t able to open the canteen without the gas – leaving many disappointed kids without a feed.
“They all understand but it’s still just a let-down,” Mr Arbuckle said.
It’s believed the gas bottles were taken about two days earlier.
On the same night, Mr Arbuckle said he noticed the club’s rear shutter roller door had also been jemmied but nothing was taken.
“We sort of fixed it that night,” he said.
The bandits struck a third time during the weekend of 26-27 July where the roller door was smashed again.
“What we’ve seen in there, nothing’s been taken,” Mr Arbuckle said.
The club had been “screaming out” to Casey Council, who owns the property, to install new hot water units and a roller door however the club will have to wear the costs of replacement gas bottles.
On Tuesday 6 August council workers installed a replacement hot water unit and fixed the roller door.
But it was weeks too late according to Mr Arbuckle: “I’ve got a plumber who could’ve done it the next day but it’s not up to us.”
“There’s been no hot water for the kids to have showers or anything like that; it’s just … really not nice,” he said.
“When you’ve got away teams here too you … it is a bit embarrassing.”
Casey manager of active communities Callum Pattie said council would apply additional security measures to try and prevent any future thefts and break in’s.
Mr Arbuckle said the thieves have “just gone for easy targets.”
“We’re a little country town … What have you got to do? Dyna-bolt everything to the ground?” he said.
The club relies on the canteen to raise money for their end of year presentations.
“It’s just a shame; it really is,” Mr Arbuckle said.
Police are investigating. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.