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Stolen bonsai trees returned to Federal Way museum

Two bonsai trees stolen Sunday, Feb. 9, from the Pacific Bonsai Museum have been found and returned. (Photos courtesy of Pacific Bonsai Museum)

Two bonsai trees, a Japanese Black Pine and a Silverberry, worth thousands of dollars were stolen from the Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way on Sunday morning.

Museum staff reported that the historic trees were found near the museum late Tuesday by security guards, returned in “fairly good shape.” The trees are already back on display.

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Executive Director Kathy McCabe was “heartbroken” when she heard the trees were stolen. She said the trees had been under strict care for more than 70 years, and urged whoever took the trees to return them, “no questions asked.”

The trees are considered fairly young for bonsai trees, but their history dates back to World War II. The Japanese Black Pine was grown from a seed planted in a tin can by Japanese American Juzaburo Furuzawa when he was incarcerated during WWII. This tree will be the centerpiece for the upcoming special exhibition, “World War Bonsai: Remembrance & Resilience” opening in May 2020.

The Silverberry has been “in training as a bonsai since 1946,” according to the museum’s press release, created by a woman bonsai artist, Kiyoko Hatanaka.

“We are deeply grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support from the community and from the media who raised awareness of the bonsai’s disappearance,” McCabe said in a press release.

No details are known about who returned the bonsai to the museum or why they were stolen.

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