Two teens arrested for destroying Holocaust memorial statues at Tulsa museum

Tulsa Police Department

Two teenagers have been taken into custody and charged after allegedly destroying several statues at a Holocaust memorial in Tulsa, Okla. 

The Tulsa Police Department said in a Facebook post Thursday that it had arrested a 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy in connection with vandalism at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art early Wednesday morning. 

The destroyed outdoor display of the museum included five Holocaust tribute statues, each filled with 2,000 rocks displaying the individual names of Jewish children killed by the Nazi regime during World War II.

Police were contacted Wednesday after the museum found the statues knocked over, causing more than $15,000 in damage.  

Surveillance footage from the incident showed the two young men bending the metal statues and knocking them down as well as attempting to steal the structures. 

Police Thursday said that the two suspects, who were not named because they are minors, allegedly threatened a person with a knife prior to arriving at the museum. Authorities said no one was hurt in the altercation. 

Tulsa police added that because of the level of damage, the two suspects were charged with felony vandalism as well as assault with a deadly weapon. 

“For those asking about charging with a Hate Crime, it is only a misdemeanor,” police said in the Facebook post. “They were charged with a higher crime felony ‘Vandalism.’”

Drew Diamond, the executive director of the museum, told ABC News that the statues are “unique pieces of art that are individually made … the way they were bent, it destroys the wire frames. So they have to be redone.”

He added though that the structures “have become a significant part of our educational work around the Holocaust, so you can’t put a price on that.” 

The destruction of the museum exhibit is just the latest reported incident of anti-Semitic vandalism in recent months. 

Earlier this month, a Washington state synagogue was vandalized with spray-painted swastikas and damage to a Holocaust memorial, and swastika flyers were plastered across the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise, Idaho, in December that read, “We are everywhere.”

Tags ABC News anti-semitism Hate crime Holocaust Oklahoma police investigation Tulsa Vandalism World War II
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