'Bored' thieves steal more than a dozen bikes from special needs school
Published: 13 February 2017
A group of thieves broke into a Port Phillip specialist school in Melbourne three times over the weekend, making off with more than 15 bikes and helmets.
The thieves, believed to be between 11 to 13 years old, broke into the school’s bike shed three times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, following a spate of vandalism from the week before.
Acting Principal of the Port Phillip Specialist School Juliet Cooper said she believed the youngsters were simply looking for ‘something to do.’
“We don’t know the age of them, we suspect they are early secondary or late primary, so potentially they’re bored,” she said.
She said she believed there were around six to eight youths in the group.
The state-funded school caters for children with mild to severe intellectual disabilities from 3 years old to 18, with a host of programs specially designed to assist with the children’s development.
Caroline Burke, a parent of one of the students at the school, said the bikes were crucial to the children’s learning.
“It helps their hand-eye coordination, it gives them strength in their muscles; it is essential,” she said.
“They give [the children] a level of independence, a level of being able to do something that a neurotypical child can do – ride a bike.”
Ms Cooper said the bikes were worth between $300 and $400, and were originally donated by members of the local community.
She said she was hopeful the community would assist the school again with acquiring new bikes, but hoped the originals would turn up.
“Return the bikes, do the right thing, our kids are really in need of these bikes,” she said.
Police are involved in the incident and have located three of the stolen bikes in the local area.