Residents of Minyerri Indigenous community have been left devastated after six teens allegedly broke into a house and destroyed thousands of dollars worth of Christmas gifts and hampers.
Alawa Aboriginal Corporation CEO Ken Muggeridge had been collecting and storing Christmas gifts in his home for the 200 children in the community, near Mataranka, for weeks.
Each family was to also receive a hamper full of food for the special time of year.
But on a last minute trip to Katherine last night to stock up for the community Christmas party, he claims the teens ransacked the house.
“They absolutely destroyed everything,” Mr Muggeridge claimed.
“They smashed up 80 presents and about 20 to 30 hampers. They tipped out litres of soft drink, poured them on the walls, they didn’t even drink them.
“The community is very angry with these kids,” he said.
Some of these kids, their parents can’t afford to by them a present- Ken Muggeridge
More than $4000 worth of Christmas gifts and $2500 in food were destroyed in what has been a string of break-ins in the community.
Mr Muggeridge said the youth had allegedly been involved in thefts at the school, new housing developments and the health clinic.
He said the situation had become “out of control”.
“These teens have been sent from other communities to be straightened out by their uncles and aunties. A lot of these kids are not from Minyerri.
“They know the court system cannot do much for 14 to 15 year-old kids, there are no repercussions for them.
“They were laughing at the police when they were being interviewed, they did not take the situation seriously at all,” he said.
The community have identified the teens involved in the break-ins and contacted police, and a meeting was held this morning to discuss potential consequences.
However, many of the young children and families will still miss out on gifts this year.
“Some of these kids, their parents can’t afford to by them a present,” Mr Muggeridge said.
“It is very depressing because we had them all lined up ready to go and they were just destroyed in one night.
“We were going to have a big Christmas party and dance but this has just soured everything,” he said.
Mr Muggeridge said despite the devastating event the Christmas party is likely to go on.
“Community members have been very generous already and have offered to drop off gifts,” he said.
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