SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco police were investigating a vandalism case after cherry blossom trees in the city’s Japantown neighborhood were destroyed.
By Saturday morning, there was an overwhelming response to a GoFundMe Page to raise funds to repair the damage.
More than 250 individuals have donated $10 to several hundred dollars to raise $14,360 — that was nearly triple the initial goal of $5,000.
Earlier this week, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California took to Facebook to report that two trees outside their office, located in the 1800 block of Sutter Street, had been stripped of their branches, with just the trees’ trunks left standing.
The vandalism was discovered on Tuesday morning.
“This was not simply a passerby trying to break a branch off for fun. Someone took their time breaking off every branch. This was not an easy task as some of the larger branches were over three inches thick and the trees 12 to 15 feet high,” JCCCNC Executive Director Paul Osaki said.
Two years ago, a different cherry blossom tree in the area was vandalized in a similar manner, Osaki said.
Cherry blossoms play a significant role in Japanese culture and the ones in Japantown were planted in 1944 to commemorate the visit of the emperor and empress of Japan.
As police continue to investigate the case, they’re asking anyone with information to call their 24-hour anonymous tipline at (415) 575-4444 or to text a tip to TIP411 and start the message with “SFPD.”