Bell returns to Foster City theater six years after theft

A happy – and unexpected – ending was reached last week six years after a historic bell was taken from a Foster City theater’s courtyard without a trace.

The bell – originally cast in 1908 – was a part of the Hillbarn Theatre’s courtyard for 60 years before it was stolen in 2004. The bell was used to summon theater goers for shows and to announce the end of intermission.

It was stolen in the early morning hours of Sept. 25, 2004. Its whereabouts remained a mystery until last week.

On Sept. 3, 2010 – nearly 6 years later – an anonymous tipster left a message with the theater saying the bell was spotted at a San Leandro scrap metal shop.

Lee Foster, the theater’s executive director, confirmed the bell’s identity, according to a released statement from the theater, and it will be returned to the theater.

The bell makes its return just in time for the theater’s 70th season.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

Follow the San Francisco Examiner’s crime blog, Law & Disorder, on Twitter @sflawdisorder.

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