Oklahoma's Tulsa Police Department (TPD) announced Thursday that they successfully arrested two young men suspected of vandalizing the local Jewish art museum's "five Holocaust tribute statues with the names of Jewish children on them who were murdered."
"Two teens are now in custody. Special thanks to the citizens for sending in tips, and thanks to the investigators for working very quickly to make an arrest," authorities announced in a Thursday afternoon update to their initial tip-line post.
It's unclear whether the suspects are minors, as no additional information has been provided by TPD.
"They represent the children that were killed during the Holocaust, so these statues were made with a lot of time and effort gone into individual names of people ... were written on rocks and then these rocks were placed inside these statues," said TPD Lt. William White said in a Thursday video update.
According to the museum, the alleged vandals caused approximately $15,000 in damage.
"Obviously the atrocity that happened," he said, referring to the Holocaust, "and, you know, I think it's really important that we don't forget. So obviously monetary damage, but there's a certain significance there of like, 'hey, a lot of people lost their lives, we need to not let that go in vain."
Twitter user @palesigns claimed in a Wednesday thread that their family was responsible for donating the statues, which they said were made "to represent me and my cousins."
Why is the vandalization of these statues important to me? because they were donated by my family to that museum. my grandmother was on the board of that museum. the statues were made to represent me and my cousins. the statues were made of wire and had over 2,000 stones with — pic.twitter.com/x6DTaJjlH3— iggy (@palesigns) February 25, 2021
"[T]he statues were made of wire and had over 2,000 stones with the names of [J]ewish children who had died in the [H]olocaust," they tweeted. "These statues were extremely personal to my family and still shows antisemitism is extremely relevant today."
The TPD's vandalism arrests come amid what appears to be a growing US trend of public expression against the Jewish community.
Earlier this month, 44-year-old Washington state resident Raymond Bryant was arrested by Spokane authorities earlier this month on suspicion of malicious harassment and malicious mischief after he allegedly defaced Temple Beth Shalom synagogue with swastikas.
Local newspaper The Spokesman-Review noted that Bryant was a leader of his own neo-Nazi organization and, prior to being slapped with two felonies, described himself to reporters as a "proud Nazi" and "racist."
A 2019 report from the Anti-Defamation League logged "2,107 antisemitic incidents across the US," which represented a 12% increase from the 1,879 incidents logged in 2018. The 2020 version of the same report is expected to be released in the coming months.