Surveillance video captures thieves stealing bonsai trees from St. Paul’s house – WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A St. Paul couple are asking for the community’s help in identifying the thieves who stole a number of their bonsai trees over the weekend.

The couple, who do not wish to be named, say the trees were stolen from an exhibit outside their home in the West 7th Street neighborhood. The thieves took several of the meticulously grown small trees outside, even though they were drilled into a bench and lit by spotlights.

The owners estimate the loss at thousands of dollars. One of them has been working with bonsai for about five years.

(credit: CBS)

The first theft happened two weeks ago, when one of the largest trees was stolen. After that, the owners tied and bolted the remaining trees to the show bench. They originally planned to put a fence around the screen, but cost became an issue.

Early Saturday, surveillance video captured three people stealing several of the remaining trees. The video shows the thieves apparently pulling up in a van and, within three minutes, they were cutting through the strips holding down the trees and fleeing with at least half a dozen plants. In their back and forth to put the plants in the van, one of the thieves trips over a lawn mower.

The couple have shared surveillance video on social media and are asking anyone who recognizes the thieves to come forward. The owners say they have filed a report with St. Paul police. WCCO-TV is working to verify this.

Bonsai is an ancient art form practiced in Japan since the 6th century. It usually features trees or shrubs grown in small containers, and growers spend hours cutting, wiring, and fertilizing the plants to create a unique living display.

(credit: CBS)

Nicholas Ehlers, outreach director for the Minnesota Bonsai Society, said while a new plant from a nursery might cost $10 to $50, a quality tree, like those on display at the Como Zoo and Conservatory, might cost hundreds or thousands. .

“Even if it’s not show quality, you still have to put in hours of watering and tending to the trees to get them to this point, which can take years,” he said. -he declares.

While Ehlers says bonsai thefts don’t happen often in Minnesota, it has happened in the past.

“We are very careful with the information we give out about members for this exact reason,” he said.

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