India: Stolen Bonsai tree recovered, thieves arrested

Hyderabad: Hyderabad police on Friday recovered a rare Bonsai tree which was stolen about a week ago from the residence of the former Director General of Police of Andhra Pradesh V Appa Rao.

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Jubilee Hills police, which had registered a case on the complaint of Appa Rao’s wife V Sridevi arrested two thieves and recovered the exotic plant from their possession.

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The theft of the Bonsai tree was part of a new trend of criminals targeting rare items including exotic birds, rare species of animals including costly breeds of dogs and plants to make quick money.

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Detective Inspector A Ramesh said that the beautiful Casuarina tree was 15 years old and its price was estimated at Rs 150,000 in the local market. “We could solve the case and nab the culprits with the help of the CCTV cameras in the neighborhood”, Ramesh said. Though two cameras were installed at Appa Rao’s house, they were defunct, the police said.

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“More than the price the plant was special for its antiquity and the love with which we had nourished it with a lot of other Bonsai plants”, said Devinder, the gardener of the family who first noticed that the plant was missing on Monday last. He had seen the plant at its place over the weekend.

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The plant was kept at one of the entrances of the house and thieves had the prior knowledge of it.

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Experts say the specialty of Bonsai plants was that they could survive for hundreds years and its price keep rising along with their age.

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Appa Rao’s family has a garden of a collection of rare and exotic bonsai plants at their house on Road No. 18 in up market Jubilee Hills area.

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It was not the first time that the residence of Appa Rao, who retired as the police chief of undivided Andhra Pradesh about two decades ago was targeted by the thieves of Bonsai trees. Three years ago a Jade Bonsai plant was also stolen from the same place but that could not be recovered.

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This time the network of CCTV cameras came to the help of the police. An analysis of the nearest cameras showed two suspects driving away with the plant on a motor bike and following the leads the police nabbed them.

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Rare and exotic

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Bonsai trees are rare, exotic and expensive as they are artificially dwarfed and need special care. They survive for two to three hundred years. The bonsai looks miniature version of the big tree of various varieties.

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The particular ornamental Bonsai of Casurina family stolen from the ex police chief Appa Rao’s house was 15 years old and part of a big collection. It was priced at Rs 150,000 in local market.

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