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Tip from recycling center helps police track down stolen Arboretum gates — but not before one was cut down for scrap

(Image: SPD)

A tip from a recycling business has helped Seattle Police track down the set of bronze gates stolen from the Arboretum’s visitor center in mid-March — but not before one was cut down for scrap.

SPD announced the recovery Friday after detectives were able to track down and recover the gates after “a local recycling business” tipped off police to two people who had tried to sell the heavy gates for copper scrap.

Police have have identified and interviewed one of the suspects who revealed the location of the stolen gates. Detectives are attempting to locate the second suspect.

Police say the business contacted police after refusing to buy the gates and ornamental downspouts also taken in the overnight heist discovered the morning of March 18th:

Detectives obtained physical descriptions of the two suspects, as well as a description of the vehicle the suspects were driving, from the business’s employees. On Thursday, detectives located a person of interest in the case and brought him to the East Precinct for an interview. The person provided information that led detectives to the location where the gate was recovered. This morning Seattle Parks staff met with the detective and took possession of the gate.

Installed by artist George Tsutakawa in 1976, the gates were commissioned “as memorial gates to all who cared about the Arboretum.” It’s not clear how heavy the gates are but the artist’s even larger set created for the nearby Kubota Gardens are a staggering 600 pounds.

Police say while one gate was recovered “mostly intact,” the other was destroyed by the suspects who “attempted to cut it down for scrap.”

Officials have not yet said if and how the gate will be restored in the Seattle Parks and the University of Washington managed park.


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