Thieves Steal 3-Ton Bell in San Francisco

Icon had survived 1906 earthquake
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Oct 25, 2011 3:46 PM CDT
A frame grab from CBS 5 video, via the San Francisco Chronicle.   (CBS 5 video)

(Newser) – A San Francisco icon has been stolen: The 122-year-old bell of St. Mary’s Cathedral disappeared sometime in the past month, though it was only noticed this weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. At 2.7 tons, the bell would have required a crane to lift and a heavy-duty truck to carry away—but someone seems to have managed it, robbing the cathedral of an artifact that survived the 1906 earthquake and an arson fire in 1962.

Built in 1889, the bell has spent the past 40 years outside the current cathedral after an arsonist burnt down the original building. It’s made of 80% copper and 20% tin, meaning it could fetch some $75,000 if melted down. “It is a very historic and valuable item. It is a memory of the Catholic Church in San Francisco,” says an archdiocese official. “It is kind of an ignoble end for the bell if they succeed." The church is offering a reward for information on the bell’s whereabouts.

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