Monday, October 24, 2011

Thieves steal 2-ton bell from St. Mary's garden in San Francisco

(10-24) 13:16 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A historic, 2-ton bell has been stolen from the garden at San Francisco's St. Mary's Cathedral, police said today.

The bell, the size of the Liberty Bell, disappeared from the cathedral at Gough and Geary streets sometime over the last month, said police Inspector Brian Danker.

"Nobody can swear on a Bible and say the last time they saw the bell," he said.
Metal thieves, eager to sell the copper to smelters, probably stole the $500,000 bell, Danker said. How they lifted or hauled it is not known. No security cameras are pointed at the area.

"The theft of metal is a low-life, unscrupulous, rather-steal-metal-than-get-a-job type of thing," Danker said.

The bell was cast in 1889 by a foundry in Baltimore, Danker said. It hung in old St. Mary's Cathedral on Van Ness Avenue until that church burned down in 1962. When the new cathedral was completed in 1970, the bell was mounted on a stump in the garden.

The cathedral is offering a reward for information leading to the return of the bell.
"My concern isn't about making an arrest, but about the getting the bell back," Danker said.

Anyone with information should call Danker at (415) 614-3463 or (415) 575-4444. Anonymous tips can also be texted to TIP411, he said."It is a priceless artifact," Danker said. "It belongs back with the parishioners."

E-mail Will Kane at wkane@sfchronicle.com.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/24/BAPU1LLIPU.DTL#ixzz1bkmehRRK

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