New Mexico

Police say Las Cruces kids vandalized daycare; "mutilated" goldfish

Daycare in Las Cruces vandalized

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Several Las Cruces kids are accused of vandalizing a local daycare over the weekend, "mutilating" several goldfish and taking a joyride in one of the daycare's vans, according to the police department.

"This is supposed to be a really safe environment," said Patricia Liggett, who has a 6-year-old son and a 20-month-old son at the daycare.

Police say on Saturday night, an 11-year-old, a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old gained access to the Discovery Child Development Center on Farney Lane off Espina Street. According to the department, they removed three goldfish from a tank, stomped on two of them, "smearing their innards" across the tile. The third goldfish was also found smashed to death.

The mother of two told ABC-7 she was especially disturbed by the alleged animal abuse.

"That was (my son's) favorite thing at the end of the day: saying goodbye to the goldfish," Liggett said.

According to the department, the three boys stole keys to one the daycare's vans and picked up an 11-year-old who joined their "joyriding session." A New Mexico State University police officer found the four boys driving the stolen vehicle on university campus. According to the release, the boys are suspected of stopping at several locations where they threw rocks, busting out windows on several vehicles.

All four children were returned to the custody of their parents, according to the Las Cruces Police Department.

The three boys accused of breaking into the daycare face felony charges of non-residential burglary, extreme cruelty to animals, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, auto burglary and four counts of conspiracy. The fourth boy is charged with felony counts of possession of a stolen vehicle and conspiracy.

Because the children are minors, their names will not be released.

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