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Teens plead guilty in vandalism of menorah at Chandler home

Posted at 8:54 PM, Aug 18, 2017

Three teens have pleaded guilty in the vandalism of a large ornamental menorah displayed outside a Chandler home in 2016 during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

The teens removed the menorah and altered it to look like a Nazi swastika.

Maricopa County Attorney's Bill Montgomery's office says the teens pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal damage under a plea agreement requiring community service, letters of apology and restitution.

The teens also must meet with a Holocaust survivor and write an essay on what they've learned.

ABC15 spoke with the original victims, Seth and Naomi Ellis, who said they agree with the terms of the deal and hope the teens learn a valuable lesson. 

"I hope they just didn't really understand the full impact of what they're doing and I hope that by this lesson they're learning that they do understand," Seth said. "I hope they take this and try to teach a positive message."

Montgomery says the crime impacted many people besides the victims but created an opportunity to have a positive impact on young lives while promoting healing through education and understanding.

"The greater hope, in what this unique resolution affords us as criminal justice professionals, is that we'll move from just simple awareness that this is wrong to a deeper understanding of what it is to respect religious and ethnic differences in our community," Montgomery said. 

A Montgomery spokeswoman says the case of a young adult involved in the incident remains under review.