A 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy have been charged after allegedly vandalizing five Holocaust statues at a Jewish museum in Oklahoma, authorities said.
The statues at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art in Tulsa are made out of wire. Each is filled with several hundred stones with the names of Jewish children who were murdered during the Holocaust, the executive director of the museum, Drew Diamond, told ABC News. Students who visit the museum decorate the stones, writing the name of a killed child on one side and the child's age on the other.
The statues were placed in a park area of the museum that's open to the public, Diamond added.
The "two suspects came through the park area and destroyed the five statues" early Wednesday, Tulsa police Lt. William White said. Surveillance video shows the teens bending the metal statues and knocking them down, while also allegedly trying to steal them.
Diamond called the statues "unique pieces of art that are individually made ... the way they were bent, it destroys the wire frames. So they have to be redone."
Before going to the museum, the boys also allegedly threatened someone with a knife, police said. No one was hurt.
The teens were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and felony vandalism, police said Thursday.
"For those asking about charging with a Hate Crime, it is only a misdemeanor," police said in a statement. "They were charged with a higher crime felony 'Vandalism.'"
Diamond said the suspects caused roughly $15,000 in damage.
"The statues," he added, "have become a significant part of our educational work around the Holocaust, so you can't put a price on that."