A cannon from the World War I — stolen earlier this month from a veterans hall — has found its way back to its Bay Area, California home.
The Richmond police was contacted by a Martinez man to return the prized artillery piece weighing a ton, as he saw a news item about it and realized he had bought the stolen item for $1,200 a couple of days ago.
The 105-mm cannon stood in the Veterans Memorial Hall in Richmond for almost seven decades before it was stolen pre-dawn on May 1.
“This gentleman was more than helpful and felt absolutely horrible he had inadvertently bought a stolen piece of American history,” the police said, decrying the stealing as an act taking away from war veterans who “fought bravely” for the country and its freedom.
Surveillance video shows there were two men who broke the cannon free using a bolt cutter and a pickup truck for towing. The man who bought it contacted the police — who also received several other tips — after the story aired on a local NBC station, saying he had no idea it was a stolen piece.
Richmond police spokesperson Lt. Felix Tan shared they are currently following up on how and why the person was able to purchase the 20th-century relic, which is worth about $1,500 if the materials were to be recycled, but deemed priceless as a historical artifact.
They are also now hunting down the suspects in the theft.
The police thanked the Bay Area community and called the recovered a wonderful case of community policing, with the police, media, and community all working in harmony.
In April, a moon rover prototype costing $38 million to create ended up in an Alabama scrapyard and was expected to fetch around $125,000 in an auction as a fascinating slice of history. However, unlike the WWI-era cannon, it wasn’t a case of theft, but of failing to tag the moon rover, which was sold for scrap before NASA could reclaim it.