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MCAO News Releases

Posted on: August 17, 2017

Teens Plead Guilty to Criminal Damage for Contorting Menorah in a Family’s Yard into Swastika

PHOENIX— This week three teens involved in damaging a large ornamental menorah displayed outside a home in Chandler during Hanukah in 2016 pled guilty to criminal damage. The plea given to the teens was reached in agreement with the victims and has unique requirements involving remorse, education, and community service.

“In seeking justice for all through responsible application of the law, sometimes that means employing innovative strategies when imposing consequences,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This crime impacted the victims, their community, and, in fact, many around the world. It also presented us with an opportunity to have a positive impact on young lives and create healing through education and understanding.” Montgomery added, “At this point in our nation’s history and mindful of recent events, it is important to be reminded that every generation has a responsibility to engage in the process of teaching civic virtue to each succeeding generation and the meaning of what it is to be an American. When it comes to respecting ethnic or religious differences, our nation’s motto is a guiding light: E pluribus unum – out of many, one.”

As part of the accepted plea, each of the teens being charged as juveniles must perform 30-hours of community service. They must each write a letter of apology to the victims and pay restitution. Additionally, each of the teens must meet face-to-face with a Holocaust survivor and then write a 10-page essay on the lessons learned from the Holocaust and how their actions have impacted the community.

On the night of December 29, 2016 four teenagers were driving in a Chandler neighborhood when they spotted a menorah made of piping displayed in a front yard. They teens told investigators they took the menorah from the victim’s yard and reconfigured it to look like a swastika to place it as a prank in another friend’s yard. The three charged teens, after taking pictures of their actions, returned the altered menorah back to the victim’s front yard where it was discovered by family members in the morning.

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