Hoquiam Police arrested a man they’re calling the Bonzai Bandit after finding a truckload of stolen items including plants, wind chimes, and shrubbery this week. Sgt. Shane Krohn said in a press release that officers were called to a home in the 2600 block of Cherry Street just after 11 PM Monday night. A homeowner showed video surveillance footage of a man sneaking into their garage and stealing cigarettes and a flashlight.
The homeowner indicated on two separate instances he had noticed a pack of cigarettes missing from his garage. He provided video images from his home surveillance which showed an unknown male entering the garage on October 20th before taking a large flashlight and pack of cigarettes.
The same male entered the garage on October 22, 2018 and rummaged through items-but it was unknown if he took anything.
Officer Blundred reviewed the images and immediately recognized the male from previous contacts as a 61-year old man who lives on the east end of Hoquiam. Officers contacted the suspect and he admitted to taking a flashlight from the residence; he also told officers where the stolen property was now located.
Hoquiam officers then went to the second location where they were invited in by the homeowner. The homeowner retrieved numerous items left behind by the suspect, including the stolen flashlight. However, as officers talked to the resident, they learned the suspect had previously also left Bonsai Trees, potted plants, wind chimes, landscape pots with decorative shrubs, a decorative rock, an angel statue, and a carpet cleaner.
Officers were able to locate a police report of stolen Bonsai trees from the 2600 Block of Sumner Ave; the recovered trees will now be returned to the rightful owner.
Upon returning to the suspect’s house, officers discovered more items which were possibly recently stolen, including a lawnmower, old vinyl records, decorative tin plates, birdhouses, garden gnomes, and numerous potted plants. All in all, officers seized two truckloads of suspected stolen property.
The suspect was booked into the Grays Harbor County Jail for Residential Burglary; additional burglary and theft charges may be added as additional victims are located.
The suspect was also charged in Hoquiam Municipal Court for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and may face felony drug charges for possession of methamphetamine pending test results from the Washington State Patrol (WSP) Crime Lab.
Any citizens who may be missing potted plants or garden décor taken recently from the east side of Hoquiam are asked to contact Detective Ryan Pearson (360-532-0892 ext. 102) or Detective Don Grossi (360-532-0892 ext. 295).