Catholic Church Dinged By Bell Theft

Categories: Crime
The missing bell has been robbed from its SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY! SANCTUARY!
Congregants of St. Michael's Korean Catholic Church of San Francisco are asking not for whom the bell tolls -- because theirs has been stolen.

Churchgoers at the Broad Street and San Jose Avenue house of worship were shocked to discover the 110-year-old bell gone on Aug. 17, one day after a seminar at the church let out at around 11 p.m. Moving the antique bell was no trifling task: The item is described as being about four feet by four feet and weighing between 400 and 600 pounds.

"I believe it was a couple of people," said church secretary Soonae "Theresa" Shim. "They left the screws."

St. Michael's has occupied its current site since 1994, and the bell came with the church -- which is the property of the city's diocese. A plaque on site indicates the bell was crafted in 1901.

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Crime has not been a big problem for St. Michael's in its 16 years in the building. No one has ripped off the collection boxes -- though, several years back, Shim recalls a man running into the church in midday and filching around $1,500. But that's a far cry from what appears to be a well-planned heist of a bell weighing as much as two 49ers offensive linemen.

Shim is uncertain what metal the "gold-colored" bell is made out of -- and noted that the congregation does not have a photo of it. Aaron Forkash, a third-generation scrap metal dealer, told SF Weekly it was likely the bell was either brass or copper.

Brass is worth $1.90 to $2 a pound, bronze sells at around $2.20 a pound, and copper brings in $2.90 to $3 a pound, he says. Depending on weight and composition, that puts the bell's street value at somewhere between $760 and $1,800. That being said, the purloined antique would be as noticeable as  ... a bell in a china shop.

"Something like that would stick out from the typical load of scrap, which is, like, faucets and fittings and stuff like that," Forkash says. Needless to say, no bells have come his way of late. 

H/T   |   Korea Times

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