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Mystery heist: Can you help track down bronze gates stolen from the Arboretum?

A massively heavy set of bronze gates were stolen in an overnight heist earlier this week from in front of the Washington Park Arboretum visitor center where they have stood — mostly open — since 1976. Officials and the Arboretum community are now in a race with time, hoping it isn’t too late to track down the prized creation forged by Seattle artist George Tsutakawa before it is sold for scrap and melted down.

“Police have been notified, and it would be helpful if anyone can report any suspicious activity from the area on the night of March 17 or early morning of March 18th or can review any home videos cameras along Lake Washington Blvd or on surrounding streets,” the Montlake Community Club reports.

The club also notes “that there are no video cameras allowed in Seattle’s public parks so there is no footage in the Arboretum.”

Heavy enough to leave open — but not too heavy to steal (Image: UW)

“The gates are large enough they would have required a large truck or flatbed. Thieves also took the metal downspouts at the Graham Visitors Center in the Arboretum,” they write.

Police are investigating the ripoff from the wooded park area to the northeast of Capitol Hill. There is little to go on and a high likelihood that the gates were taken to be chopped down and sold for scrap. Bronze is an alloy consisting of copper and around 12 to 15% tin. Current scrap prices on copper range around $2.25 per pound. It’s unclear how much copper the Arboretum gates might yield. The artist’s even larger set created for the nearby Kubota Gardens are a staggering 600 pounds. But even at that weight, the scrapyard would yield a paltry payoff in comparison with the value of Tsutakawa’s work.

Installed by the artist in 1976, the gates were commissioned, Montlake.net says, “as memorial gates to all who cared about the Arboretum.”

If you have video or information that might help police, call 911.


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4 thoughts on “Mystery heist: Can you help track down bronze gates stolen from the Arboretum?

  1. “there are no video cameras allowed in Seattle’s public parks so there is no footage in the Arboretum.”

    Thanks, ACLU and paranoid libertarians! Good thing we cannot track gunfire, either – wouldn’t want to put a stop to gun violence, either.

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