Teens identified in Ronald McDonald vandalism

Teens identified in Ronald McDonald vandalism
SEATTLE - Police have interviewed two teenage boys in connection with stealing and vandalizing the statue at the Ronald McDonald House.

Police said the parents of the boys, aged 14 and 15, brought them to the Seattle Police Department's North Precinct after a meeting was arranged. The boys are being cooperative and have been released back to their parents, officers said.

Detectives plan to recommend charges of malicious mischief – a felony - against the two teens. They are suspected of dragging the beloved statue outside Ronald McDonald House about 100 yards down a bike trail and smashing it to pieces early Saturday.

The teens were identifed after a number of Puget Sound area people and businesses pitched in to pay for a replacement statue. Dozens of families live at the Ronald McDonald House while their children receive treatment at nearby Children's Hospital.

Surveillance video shows two people stealing the statue as soon as a security guard left the area.

"It's sad that somebody would stoop to that level," said Mark Woellmer, whose son is battling brain cancer. "All the kids here that are sick have their pictures taken with him.

"To steal from a house that does nothing but offer a home for people away from home with their children being treated for illnesses - terminal illnesses - and they just come here and steal. It's an outrage."

But on Monday came an outpouring of gifts from several people like Steve Gay with the SeaFair Clowns, who gave the KOMO Problem Solvers a check for $1,000 -- the exact cost for a new statue.

"The SeaFair clowns are very familiar with Ronald McDonald House," Gay said. "We stop there every SeaFair. Ronald's like family to us and we wanted to do what we can to help out."

Pemco Insurance and Golden State Foods, as well as many individuals have also stepped up big to help the Ronald McDonald house. In fact, one person has offered to dress-up as Ronald and sit on the bench for hours on end.

As for a new statue, it could take some time tracking down as they are not made anymore. KOMO News is working with a woman who has one and wants to donate it to the Seattle house.