- Associated Press - Saturday, March 21, 2020

SEATTLE (AP) - Custom-made bronze gates that stood at the entrance to the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle since 1976 have been stolen, facility workers said.

Arboretum curator Ray Larson said staff noticed the gates were missing Thursday when gardeners arrived for work, adding that bolt cutters were on the ground, the Seattle Times reported.

“It would be a pretty enormous task to haul them out,” Larson said. “People are just shocked, and appalled. It was so brazen. Our hope is that someone may have seen something.”

The solid bronze Memorial Gates were made by internationally-renowned sculptor George Tsutakawa and commissioned in 1971 by the University of Washington and the Arboretum Foundation as a memorial to all who loved and cared for the arboretum.

The gates are about 20 feet (6 meters) wide and kept open in part because they are so heavy, he said, adding that he fears thieves will take them to a scrapper for the value of the metal.

An investigation is ongoing.

Seattle-born Tsutakawa died in December 1997, and is best known for creating over 70 avant-garde fountain designs in North America and Japan.

Tsutakawa was associated with the University of Washington for more than 37 years, first teaching design courses in the School of Architecture and later teaching in the School of Art.

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