OAKLAND, Calif. – In the East Bay, there was an unusual theft of priceless and cherished tiny trees.
It happened at the Bonsai Garden near Lake Merritt in Oakland on Wednesday morning, around 4:15 a.m.
Thieves stole eight artistic and valuable Japanese-style trees, valued at over $20,000. But it’s not the value, according to Director Gordon Deeg, who’s volunteered at the garden for over 20 years.
He said, “The fact is, they’re not replaceable.” Surveillance video caught one of the thieves carrying off a tree. It’s thought there were two masked burglars.
The thieves had to penetrate two fences, dodge surveillance cameras and seemed to selectively choose the bonsai specimens they carried off.
The garden is staffed by volunteers. Some who have put in several hours every week for years. The trees are donated, grown from seeds and some are very rare and valuable.
A volunteer carefully cares for a bonsai tree in the collection in the Bonsai Garden in Oakland near Lake Merritt.
Gary, who did not give his last name, is the curator of the garden, and has been coming at least twice a week for 23 years. He said, “This is the fourth time in two years. This time they came and just kicked in the fence and took wire cutters to cut the wired portions and carried out every tree they could carry.”
Volunteers at the 25-year-old garden are asking people to keep an eye out online, as the bonsai trees stolen last April were found to be for sale on