VANDALS have again hit Somerville’s Dinosaur World tourist park, knocking down a life-size Tyrannosaurus rex model and causing thousands of dollars’ damage in the process.
The 4.5-metre tall replica T-rex, which had stood at the entrance to the recently opened tourist park on Frankston-Flinders Rd, was attacked some time between late Sunday night and early Monday morning.
It is the second time the park’s showpiece has been targeted in as many weeks, after it was knocked over and damaged on 7 February, causing more than $3000 damage.
The damage this time is far worse, with park owner George Landolfo estimating the latest repair bill to fix the steel and fibreglass model at as much as $10,000.
“It’s completely stuffed this time,” he said. “They’ve really made a mess of it. The steel frame inside is broken and buckled so it will have to be cut open in order to fix it, and that’s going to be very costly.
“We’ve devastated people would do this. It’s a real mongrel act, and it affects the whole community because this was a much-loved attraction that kids love to see as they pass.”
Mr Landolfo said it would have taken considerable time and effort to knock down the replica dinosaur as it weighed more than a tonne and was welded to a heavy steel base.
“It can’t be tipped over; they would have had to rock it back and forth again and again until the steel frame broke through,” he said.
“There’s no way one person could have done this; it’s far too heavy. There would have had to been two or three or more of them. We’re going to need a crane to lift it up again.”
The replica T-rex is one of more than a dozen dinosaur models on display at the park, which cost more than $17,000. The park has nine moving animatronic dinosaur models.
Mr Landolfo, who also owns an adjoining Christmas tree farm, said he had invested about $250,000 to open the theme park.
Police have called on anyone who might have any information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.