SOUTH ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- Eight rail cars at the Fox River Trolley Museum were vandalized earlier this month, allegedly by two boys - age 11 and 13 - causing $110,000 in damage. The boys were charged in Kane County Juvenile Court.
The boys broke into the rail barn in South Elgin in west suburban Kane County between July 4 and 7, police said. They first broke into museums maintenance building to grab a large pick ax and spikes.
"Once they were in here, by what police department says, they had to be in here anywhere from 2-6 hours, judging on the damage," said Jeff Bennett, of the museum.
Every car was damaged. One had 26 windows blown out, another had a historic, irreplaceable headlight damaged.
"It also had a unique lightbulb, 600 volts DC, last produced 40 years ago, it hasn't been available in decades," Bennett said.
The Fox River Rail line dates back to the late 1800s. When the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin Railway went out of business in 1961, a group of rail enthusiasts preserved the rail cars by opening The Fox River Trolley Museum.
"They have given their hearts and souls to keep their cars in their original condition, now things are damaged and destroyed," Bennett said.
On Sunday, they offered free tours and rides in the hope of getting people to donate. So far, the museum has collected $19,000.
Julie Cichon and her family decided Sunday was a good day to visit the museum for the first time.
"Unfortunately, it took the tragedy to bring awareness to this history and importance in keeping it alive and running," Cichon said.
Two boys allegedly vandalize rail cars at Fox River Trolley Museum