WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Three Wichita teenage boys, ages 16-17, were arrested after vandalizing several train cars at a Wichita museum.
The Great Plains Transportation Museum (GPTM), 700 E. Douglas, says on Saturday around 8 p.m., vandals gained access to the museum equipment display next to the Union Station Platform level in Old Town, causing at least $10,000 in damage to a locomotive, passenger car, two cabooses and a converted passenger car used as a repair and fabrication shop.
“This is going to come out of our pockets. We are very well insured, but with vintage equipment, it’s a different circumstance,” said GPTM Director Drew Meek.
Wichita police found the suspects using video from a camera that operates nonstop.
The teens were arrested on suspicion of burglary, criminal damage to property, and trespass.
“I’m glad they were not hurt, but I’m not happy about what happened here,” said Meek. “We’ve had acts of vandalism before throughout our history since 1983. We have never had one with the damage that has been done Saturday.”
“We apologize to those coming to view the museum displays,” explained GPTM President John Deck. “Our resources are largely allocated to existing preservation projects, such as the completion of a working locomotive and fully restored wooden caboose, so it may take several months to repair the damage done by the vandals.”
Volunteers quickly began making temporary repairs and cleaning up Sunday morning to ensure museum hours are not impacted by the attack.
“That very day, I probably spent about six to eight hours sweeping up glass, securing doors, putting plywood in windows,” said GPTM volunteer David Olson. “Damages like this really set us back on projects that we’re trying to accomplish around here.”
Meek says the museum takes pride in preserving railroad history throughout Kansas. They appreciate the community support as they continue to recover.