SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Bonsai Guy owner, Chris Cox, declared he has closed down his nursery due to theft following this weekend’s fall festival.
On The Bonsai Guy of Springfield, MO Facebook page, Cox wrote a post declaring that his business is effective immediately shut down. The post revealed that “A few bad apples along the way have broken my spirit” and that they have stolen decor and some bonsai trees while attending the Japanese Fall Festival, but Cox would later state it was after the event.
Dear springfield. You win. I’m done. I really tried to bring something beautiful here. A few bad apples along the way have broken my spirt. If anyone you know suddenly has some really old Asian decor and some really old bonsai. They did not buy it at the Japanese fall Festival. They stole it at the Japanese fall Festival. Please do not ask me for donations any longer. Don’t ask me to be at your thing or speak at your thing. I won’t. I am no longer in business.The Bonsai Guy of Springfield, MO post at 1:00 p.m. Sept. 13
The message caused several commenters on the post to give their thoughts of sympathy and appreciation for the years given and anger towards the theft.
Just two days earlier, during the festival, Cox posted on his personal page, “At my favorite place doing what I love the most. Teaching, learning, discussion, and admiration for the ancient art of Bonsai.” Cox was at the festival as an exhibitor, not a vendor. None of the items he displayed were for sale.
Cox was hired by the Springfield Sister Cities Association to lead a workshop on Bonsai.
Here’s Cox at the 2022 Japanese Fall Festival:
According to Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield Greene County Park Board, The Monday after the festival was “loadout day”, a grace period that allowed vendors and exhibitors to pick up and clean up their designated area.
“The alleged incident happened the day after loadout,” said Edwards. Cox issued a theft report to a park ranger on Tuesday morning.
According to Edwards, security was provided before, during and after the festival. She said Cox did not contact Sister Cities to make other arrangements to secure his property.
Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, told Ozarksfirst.com, “Mr. Cox left several items on-site at the Japanese Stroll Garden after the weekend festival. When he went to retrieve the items on Tuesday, he noticed that several were missing.”
“Loadout was Monday, but he didn’t show until Tuesday,” said Scott.
Sister Cities was notified of the theft after the Facebook post.
Cox would later post the items that were taken and a reward:
$500 To whoever brings my stuff to me no questions asked. These are the items taken.
Willow leaf ficus.
Burt Davii ficus
2 brass Foo dogs
2 cork carvings
A rosewood dragon.
1 Asian gate
1triangle pot of miniature hostas.
Some people have added to the reward. It’s up to $1100
“Our Park Ranger still has not received a list of missing items, which is necessary to complete the incident report. The report is not releasable until it is complete,” said Edwards. She said no other vendors/performers/exhibitors have reported any thefts during or after the event.
According to Scott, No suspect information is available.
Cox began his journey in the world of Bonsai around 2015 after returning from Afghanistan. After years of learning and selling bonsai out of his backyard, Cox opened his storefront downtown in February of 2020 on West Walnut Street. Cox also began teaching classes on the art.
Here is Cox visiting Ozarks Live: