50 koi fish have been stolen from the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose, Calif., SFGATE reports. The San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services estimates the theft resulted in a loss of about $4,000, with each fish worth at least $75 or more, depending on size.
“The City is heartbroken at the disappearance of these beautiful creatures,” the parks department wrote in a Tweet.
According to The Mercury News, the fish were first discovered missing early Saturday morning, along with a pump worth about $1,500. A couple fish were also found on the ground, having died during the burglary.
The stolen koi fish were part of a gift to San Jose from its sister city of Okayama, Japan in the 1960s. The garden itself is a symbol of “everlasting friendship” between San Jose and Okayama. The word “koi” itself is a homophone for a Japanese word meaning affection and love.
Out of the 300 gifted koi fish, some of which have died over the years due to natural causes, 220 are now left after the burglary.
“We are definitely ramping up on our security at the Japanese Friendship Garden,” Daniel Lazo, a spokesperson for the parks department, said, according to ABC7. “We have had several instances of break-ins in this past year including stolen tools and equipment and vandalized property as well.”
As of Thursday, the police still have no updates but are actively searching. Anyone with information regarding the missing fish can report it by calling San Jose Police Department’s non-emergency phone line at 408-277-8900.
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