Police seek help after kindergarten arson

Last updated 12:47 22/07/2014
Paeroa kindergarten destroyed by fire

WHO'D DO THIS?: The burnt out shell of the Paeroa kindergarten.

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An arsonist stole from a kindergarten, then set the building alight - all for a safe with ''practically nothing in it''.

The kindergarten, a long time part of the Paeroa community is today simply a burnt out shell thanks to an alleged arson attack in the town on Saturday night.

Detective Simon Everson of the Waihi CIB said fire fighters were called to the Central Kids Kindergarten on Paeroa's Arney St just before 10pm.

They arrived to find the building ablaze and could do little more than contain the fire, he said.

''A subsequent examination by fire safety officers and police of the kindergarten building has confirmed the office had been broken in to before the building was set alight.

''Everson said one of the staff members later discovered that the office safe, containing a small amount of cash, had been stolen.

Central Kids Kindergarten chief executive Jan Ballantyne said staff were told someone broke in through a window.

"...we are missing a safe which has practically nothing in it,'' Ballantyne said.

''Why would someone destroy the children's environment like this? It is the act of a thoughtless moron.''

The safe is described as a grey coloured Sandleford Brand safe with a key pad on the front. It measures approximately 20cm by 30cm.

''The local community is reeling from the attack as a large number of people have attended the kindergarten in the decades it has operated,'' Everson said.

''Many have been unable to understand what would bring anyone to set fire to a building, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars damage, all for a minimal amount of cash held in the safe.'' 

Police are appealing to the public for sightings of anyone acting suspiciously around Wood and Arney Streets on Saturday night or anyone who may have seen the stolen safe or knows who is responsible for the attack. 

Anyone with information on Saturday night's incident is asked to contact Detective Simon Everson at the Waihi Police Station on 07 8633711 or Paeroa Police on 07 8628744.

Alternatively, information can be left anonymously with the independent Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

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- Waikato Times

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