Rockhampton Zoo robbed

By DARRYN NUFER ? IF only Rockhampton zoo staff could talk to the animals they may learn who was responsible for a $7000 heist this week.

The daily duties of zookeepers has been thrown into disarray after thieves escaped with a mower, three weed-eaters, three blowers, a chainsaw and an air compressor. Zookeeper Chris Mehrton arrived at work on Thursday, about 5.50am, to discover a large hole cut in the fence to the zoo's work compound.

Originally nothing was feared missing as none of the heavy duty locks to storage sheds or offices was damaged, although bearing signs of foul play.

"When I went through this shed with police I noticed the gear missing, but we didn't know how they (culprits) had got in,'' Mr Mehrton said.

Upon closer inspection it was revealed a sheet of metal had been forced from a door frame allowing access to a locking pin.

It is not the first time the zoo compound had been targeted.

"About three weeks ago we had a break-in but nothing was stolen,'' Mr Mehrton said.

He said the loss of equipment had had a significant impact on general maintenance at the zoo.

"We're having to borrow gear from the other gardeners which is a hassle because if they're using it obviously we have to wait. It's hard because we're flat strap as it is.''

It was not known whether insurance would cover the equipment. Anyone with information should contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000 or police on 4932 1500.



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