Police arrest 'bonsai bandit,' discover slew of stolen yard items

HOQUIAM, Wash. — A man Hoquiam police dubbed the "bonsai bandit" is behind bars.

Officers said Donald Decker, 61, admitted to stealing dozens of random yard items he stockpiled at his home and another residence.

“I thought I'd never see them again,” said Linda Shaw.

Shaw had three jade plants stolen from her front porch last month. Friday, she stopped by the Hoquiam Police Department to pick them up.

The plants are just few of the items Hoquiam police said Decker stole.

“It's sad that they don't have a life and they take things from innocent people,” said resident Chris Park.

Police said the thefts went on for months, but officers didn't realize they were related until this week.

According to police, a Cherry Street homeowner's cigarettes kept vanishing from his garage, so he checked his surveillance video. Detectives said cameras caught Decker in the act, stealing a flashlight and opening the homeowner's fridge.

"I don't like it and I'm always going to keep things locked up because we have things of value, and that means nothing to them,” said Park.

Hoquiam police said they're familiar with Decker. When they went to his home they found the flashlight and dozens of other items, including plants, a yard angel, a lawn mower and garden gnomes.

Officers said Decker admitted to stealing it all. They arrested him for residential burglary and drug possession.

“It’s better he's behind bars and not out here in the community,” said Park.

If residents are missing items, detectives said to contact the Hoquiam police department.

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