Two boys, ages 11 and 13, have been charged with causing more than $100,000 in damage this month to the Fox River Trolley Museum in northwest suburban South Elgin.
On July 8, police responded to reports of vandalism at the museum located at 365 Fox Street and found that two of the museum’s buildings and been broken in to and several trolley cars were damaged, according to South Elgin police.
The vandalism happened sometime between July 4 and July 7. The vandals broke dozens of windows and damaged eight trolley cars in the museum’s collection, according to an online statement by Museum President Edward Konecki.
One of the cars had 26 windows punched out, while another had its headlights smashed, damaging light bulbs that have not been produced in several decades, said Konecki.
The Fox River car 304, which dates back to the Fox River Line in 1923, suffered the most damage, said Konecki.
The estimated repairs will cost between $110,00 to $150,000 or higher, according to Jeff Bennett, the museum’s chief car officer.
“We are all heartbroken and scrambling to repair the damage,” said Bennett.
While investigating, police found evidence at the scene that led them to a residence where they identified one of the juvenile suspects, police said.
The boys were each charged with one count of burglary and one count of criminal damage to property and were being referred to the Kane County Court, police said.
They have not been identified due to their age.
The non-profit museum called the vandalism “the biggest threat to the museum’s survival in its 57-year history” and has launched a crowdfunding effort to help with repairs.
The museum has set a $110,000 goal on a GoFundMe account, and officials say they are hoping to repair the 304 Trolley Car in time for its Trolleyfest weekend, scheduled for Aug. 18 and 19.
Museum operations are continuing as normal despite the damage, open weekends and holidays through Labor Day and Sundays through the end of October.