Historic 2-ton church bell stolen from SF found in Oakland 

click to enlarge The missing bell: The bell was built in 1889 and survived the 1906 earthquake and a fire before being moved to St. Mary’s Cathedral on Geary Boulevard in 1970. (Courtesy photo) - THE MISSING BELL: THE BELL WAS BUILT IN 1889 AND SURVIVED THE 1906 EARTHQUAKE AND A FIRE BEFORE BEING MOVED TO ST. MARY’S CATHEDRAL ON GEARY BOULEVARD IN 1970. (COURTESY PHOTO)
  • The missing bell: The bell was built in 1889 and survived the 1906 earthquake and a fire before being moved to St. Mary’s Cathedral on Geary Boulevard in 1970. (Courtesy photo)
  • The missing bell: The bell was built in 1889 and survived the 1906 earthquake and a fire before being moved to St. Mary’s Cathedral on Geary Boulevard in 1970. (Courtesy photo)

“Hallelujah the bell has been found!”

The Archdiocese of San Francisco is praising news that a 5,300 pound church bell swiped from St. Mary’s Cathedral last weekend has been found intact.

A homeless man found the 122-year-old bell across the street from a salvage yard in West Oakland, near the Port of Oakland, said George Wesolek, spokesman for the Archdiocese.

Police were called about the bell's whereabouts around 2 p.m. Wednesday.

The bell was covered by a tarp, resting atop two beams in an "open area," police said. It was a “bit dirty” but not damaged, Wesolek said.

“We’re calling it a mini-miracle,” he said. “I had said goodbye to the bell. I thought, ‘There’s no way we’re going to see that again.’”

The bell was likely stolen early Sunday morning. It was reported missing around 11 a.m. that day. Police believe recycling thieves planned to scrap it for about $10,000. The bell is worth an estimated $75,000.

Police don’t yet have a suspect and may want to hold onto the bell for their ongoing investigation, Wesolek said.

But if the Archdiocese are told they can reclaim the bell now, they may need some help, he said.

“We’re hoping someone would volunteer a truck and crane to come get the bell,” he said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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