Silverberry bonsai tree. Photo courtesy of Pacific Bonsai Museum

Silverberry bonsai tree. Photo courtesy of Pacific Bonsai Museum

Bonsai burglary: trees worth thousands stolen from Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way

The two bonsai, a Silverberry and a Japanese Black Pine, were stolen from the secured public exhibit area early Sunday morning.

Two bonsai trees, estimated to be worth thousands of dollars, were stolen from Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way on Sunday morning, museum officials shared over the weekend.

The two bonsai were stolen from the public display at the museum around 7 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. The theft took place inside the secure exhibit area.

Of the missing trees, one is a Japanese Black Pine grown from seed in a tin can by Japanese

American Jizaburo Furuzawa while he was incarcerated during World War II.

The other bonsai, a Silverberry, was “an exquisite example of the species,” according to the museum’s press release. The bonsai has been in training as a bonsai since 1946 and was created by female bonsai artist, Kiyoko Hatanaka — a pioneer in her time.

“This is a tremendous loss, not only to our collection but there is a strong likelihood that the trees

will perish,” said Aarin Packard, curator of the Pacific Bonsai Museum. “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.”

The Pacific Bonsai Museum is located in Woodbridge Corporate Park (formerly the Weyerhaeuser Company Campus), and is home to one of the top bonsai collections in the world.

Established by the Weyerhaeuser Company in 1989, the museum is now a nonprofit organization connecting people to nature through the living art of bonsai.

“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,” the press release stated.

The Pacific Bonsai Museum is urging anyone with information leading to the recovery of the bonsai trees to reach out to Kathy McCabe, executive director of the museum via kathy@pacificbonsaimuseum.org

“It’s not too late for these bonsai to be returned, no questions asked, so we can make sure these trees will be around for another 70 years.”


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Japanese Black Pine bonsai. Photo courtesy of Pacific Bonsai Museum

Japanese Black Pine bonsai. Photo courtesy of Pacific Bonsai Museum

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