Washington state

Bonsai trees stolen from Washington museum - and they are worth thousands, officials say

Two bonsai trees worth thousands of dollars were stolen from a Washington museum, the museum said.

The stolen trees have been taken care of for decades, officials at the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way said in a Sunday news release. Without that care, the trees likely won’t survive.

“This is a tremendous loss, not only to our collection but there is a strong likelihood that the trees will perish,” Aarin Packard, curator at the Pacific Bonsai Museum, said in the news release. “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. 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 was “an exquisite example of the species” and was created by a female bonsai artist.

The trees were part of the public display, the museum said.

“The theft took place inside the secure exhibit area,” the museum said in the news release. “The loss will be greatest for the tens of thousands of fans and supporters in our community, as well as visitors from around the world, who come to the museum to learn about the stories of these venerable trees.”

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