California Veterans Get Their Stolen WWI Cannon Back
A man was surprised to find he had bought a stolen cannon
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2016 3:38 PM CDT
This historical cannon was stolen from outside the Veterans Memorial Hall in Richmond, California, earlier this month.   (Richmond Police Department)

(Newser) – A WWI-era cannon was returned to its home of nearly 70 years this week after a Bay Area man realized he had accidentally purchased the stolen antique, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 1-ton cannon was installed outside the Veterans Memorial Hall in Richmond, California, in 1947. On May 1, surveillance cameras caught thieves hauling it away in a pickup truck. "This act is about stealing a piece of our country's history and stealing from our war veterans who fought bravely for our country and our freedom," the San Francisco Chronicle quotes a statement from the Richmond Police Department as saying.

On Thursday, a man called police after seeing a news story on the stolen cannon. He said he had paid $1,200 for the weapon days earlier. “This gentleman was more than helpful and felt absolutely horrible he had inadvertently bought a stolen piece of American history,” the Times quotes a police statement as saying. Police say the cannon is worth $1,500 or so in iron and brass scrap alone. That amount doesn't take into account the cannon's historical value. The antique has been returned to its place outside the Veterans Memorial Hall, but police are still looking for the thieves.