A Caroline Springs childcare centre was broken into three times in 10 days, with gates broken, property stolen and play equipment damaged.
Police say the Penguin childcare centre on Becca Way has been targeted by teenagers in recent weeks and used as a “hangout joint”.
In the latest incident overnight on November 27, vandals jumped back fences to get access to the rear of the childcare centre.
Senior Sergeant Trevor King, of Caroline Springs police, said property, not including play equipment, had been damaged and the front of the building defaced with the word ‘TUSK’.
“If anyone, anywhere knows anything about the TUSK tag, please notify us,” Senior Sergeant King said.
“The tag has been used similarly at other nearby locations, including the Springside kindergarten and college.”
Having scoured closed-circuit television footage and taken fingerprints, police say they have identified a number of suspects.
Vandals also broke into the property last April and on November 15 and 20.
Senior Sergeant King would not say whether the four break-ins were linked.
While there have been no attempts to enter the centre’s building, Senior Sergeant King said it was disappointing the community facility had become a gathering place.
“I’m disappointed [they] choose to hang out in a place such as that, and just cause damage,” he said. “It’s a community facility, which is an important part of the community.”
Senior Sergeant King reminded people it was an offence to trespass in, and damage, private property.
Staff and children have not been threatened or targeted, but it was unfortunate vandals were causing such a nuisance for them and police, he said.
Glass bottles, empty and broken, have been found discarded in the childcare centre’s yard.
Senior Sergeant King would not be drawn on whether the bottles contained alcohol, but he said nothing suggested to police that drugs were used at the premises.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Senior Sergeant King on 9361 4700.