Two “priceless” bonsai trees have been returned to their rightful home at a Washington state museum after they were stolen last week.
The Pacific Bonsai Museum in Federal Way, Washington, is home to more than 100 rare and ancient bonsai trees. On February 9th, museum staffers were left frantic with worry when they discovered that a pair of 70-year-old trees had been taken from the facility.
One of the trees, a Japanese Black Pine, was particularly notable for being grown out of a tin can by a Japanese-American man incarcerated in a World War II internment camp.
The museum quickly made a social media post begging for information on the trees’ whereabouts.
“This is a tremendous loss, not only to our collection but there is a strong likelihood that the trees will perish. 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,” wrote Aarin Packard, Pacific Bonsai Museum Curator.
The post was shared across the internet until—just 72 hours after their reported theft—museum security guards found the two stolen trees sitting on the roadside near the museum.
Although one of the trees had suffered from some minor broken branches, they were in surprisingly good condition following the heist.
They were put back on display later that very same day and museum staffers thanked members of the public for helping to bring the bonsais back home.
They announced that they now plan on installing an updated security system thanks to the sudden influx of online donations following the trees’ return.