Bonsai master on trail of stolen trees

Published On: Aug 14 2013 05:05:00 PM HST

Bonsai master Walter Liew passed out fliers in front of Tamura’s market to anyone who would take them.

"Good morning ma'am. Help me to find my babies. Yesterday police found one," said Liew.

Mrs. Liew papered windshields in the parking lot with the same notices.

Their "babies" are bonsai trees and someone stole 15 of them.

The signature trees took decades to train.

Liew said he sunk into a deep depression when they disappeared.

Suddenly that depression lifted, and when one of the missing trees turned up,  Liew became a man on a mission.

"I couldn’t believe it, until I saw the photo they emailed to Kailua post office.  and I said that's mine, and I came running over here."

Not exactly running, Liew actually drove fast.

"I told my wife, if police catch me, I will tell them we found my baby. We have to go there in a hurry," said Liew.

Liew said the returned bonsai was similar to one in his book, entitled "The Living Art of Bonsai,” except it was in a different pot.

"I am forever grateful. The one they returned was in good condition and was flowering so that means they took good care," said Liew.

"I am happy that something got returned. I hope the rest of his bonsai plants do go back, because I know how hard it is to raise plants," said Waianae Barbara Badayos.

Liew hopes his personal pitch will help him get his trees back.

"I'll keep my eyes open uncle," said one man.

"My cousin put it on Facebook. She was working down over there and said someone stole that," said another woman.

It didn’t take long for calls to start coming in.  Now the Liews wait, to see  how  many more of the "babies" come home.

Liew's flier offering a $2,000 reward for the return of his trees.





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