Children arrived at their daycare in Te Atatū South in West Auckland this morning to find out that their beloved kindy pets, Bill and Ben, had been stolen.
Centre manager Purdey Redfearn is hoping someone in the area saw someone suspicious around the centre on Monday night and can help them track down their beloved turtles.
Bill and Ben have been the centre's pets for nearly five years and some children are finding it hard to understand why anyone would do such a thing.
"The children are confused and concerned. Some of them are really sad and are battling to understand why someone would take their turtles," Redfearn told the Herald.
"A little girl made a comment 'why would someone steal them? They were ours. Why didn't they just ask us?'
"And a group of boys chatted about how they were going to set up cameras on drones to find the 'bad guys'. Another child said they were going to fill a box with water and walk the streets to find the turtles," she added.
"The teachers found it heartbreaking to support our children through what could potentially be their first experience of loss."
The incident has been reported to police and Redfearn says they hope Bill and Ben will be returned to the centre.
She has also asked Te Atatū locals and anyone who may have been near the Flanshaw Early Childhood Centre on Monday night to report anything suspicious they may have witnessed.
"We believe they jumped the fence but are unsure if the school gates were closed and locked at the time it occurred (we are located on the school grounds)," she said.
Bill and Ben were dropped back to the Flanshaw Early Childhood Centre early on Friday morning. A post on the centre's Facebook page said they were "incredibly grateful" someone did the right them by bringing them home.