Stolen bonsai trees worth thousands mysteriously return to Washington museum

Bonsai trees worth thousands were returned to their homes in a Washington museum.

Two historic bonsai trees were stolen Sunday from the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way, the museum said in a news release. They were likely to die if they weren’t returned, museum officials said.

Fortunately for the museum and the trees, they were returned Tuesday, a news release said.

Security guards found the bonsai trees on the road leading to the museum at 11 p.m. They were in fairly good shape, Museum Curator Aarin Packard said in the news release.

“The Silverberry suffered some damage,” Packard said. “It has some broken branches, probably due to improper transportation and handling, but both bonsai trees and their pots appear to be intact, which means they can return to being on public display.”

The trees had been taken care of for decades and officials were worried the trees wouldn’t survive without the same level of care.

“These trees have been cared for every day for more than 70 years, and if that daily care doesn’t continue the trees will die,” Packard said when the trees were taken. “These historic, living works of art are the result of the care provided by multiple generations.”

One of the trees was grown in a tin can by Japanese American Juzaburo Furuzawa when he was incarcerated during World War II, the museum said. The other is “an exquisite example of the species” and was created by a female bonsai artist.

The museum promised a “no questions asked” policy if the bonsai trees were returned. Now that they are back, the trees will be examined and placed back on display, the museum said.

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