DEVASTATED: Laidley Pioneer Village and Museum president Tom Mulcahy.
DEVASTATED: Laidley Pioneer Village and Museum president Tom Mulcahy. Lachlan McIvor

$20,000 worth of tools stolen from volunteer organisation

JUST as they took one step forward, the Laidley Pioneer Village and Museum have been flung several feet back.

After a generous Good Samaritan donated a similar item to replace the antique fire extinguisher that was stolen at the end of October, offenders have broken into the village for the third time in three weeks.

This time, they made off with a variety of tools, which volunteers estimated at about $20,000 worth of equipment they use to maintain the village.

The break-and-enter occurred on Sunday night last week, and the group said crime against the village had ramped up during the past two years.

President Tom Mulcahy discovered the break-in the following morning and said it was a devastating blow.

"To us, as a little non-profit organisation, it's disastrous for us," Mr Mulcahy said.

"I was very emotional (upon discovering what had happened). I could have sat down and cried.

"We've got a great lot of volunteers here but we can't do anything mechanical because we've got no tools."

Mr Mulchay has been involved with the village for ten years and has watched it come "leaps and bounds" in that time to become a hot spot for tourism in the valley and a popular place for students to learn about a bygone era.

"To me this place is like my home," he said.

Members of the village are afraid if not nothing is done to beef up security measures, perpetrators will turn to stealing priceless antiques that will be all but impossible to replace.

The village and its buildings are owned by the Lockyer Valley Regional Council.

"Council has again met with volunteers of the Laidley Pioneer Village to discuss the security measures needed to prevent further break-ins," a council spokesperson said.

"In light of the previous break-ins, council can confirm increased patrols and inspections conducted by the security company employed to manage the facility.

"Discussions with the Laidley Pioneer Village are currently underway to find the appropriate short term and long term methods to deter future thieves."

If you would like to get in contact with the village, phone 5465 2516.

If you have any information on the crime, call Laidley police on 5466 8000 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Mr Mulchay had a message for the perpetrators.

"We implore on the people that took it, please think carefully about what you've done," he said.


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