THE WOODLANDS, Texas -

The Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office is asking for the public's help in finding a group of five boys responsible for setting a fire in The Woodlands on May 3.

The boys, believed to be between the ages of 14 and 16, were seen in the area off Research Forest Drive near Branch Crossing days before and after a fire was intentionally set there.

Investigators said a John Deere Excavator, worth more than $50,000, was destroyed when it was set on fire. Another piece of equipment parked next to the excavator was vandalized.

"They poured about 50 gallons of fuel on the ground. They got up and drained the fuel system out of the truck," said Joe Manz Jr., with the Fire Marshal's Office.

Manz said two days before the fire, the boys were standing on a pile of tree debris and refused to get down when workers asked them to. They claimed to be protesting the removal of trees in that area. 

"I do believe they live locally here and the people here in this community ought to be able to help us out," Manz said.

The vandals did more than $50,000 worth of damage. 

This crime is considered a felony and the Fire Marshal investigators are asking anyone with information to call Montgomery County Crimestoppers at 1-800-392-STOP or to call them directly at (936) 538-8288.