Richmond Police Department

Stolen WWI-Era Cannon in Richmond Found: Police

A day after NBC Bay Area ran a story about a stolen WWI-era cannon from Richmond, police said the unusual item was found.

A man told Richmond police he saw the story on NBC Bay Area and felt awful that he had bought the cannon from an undisclosed seller, according Lt. Felix Tan. The man lives in Martinez and the cannon was poised to be returned to the rightful owners, later on Thursday.

Police said the man, who collects war memorabilia, had the cannon prominently displayed in his front yard when he learned it had been stolen from the Richmond Veteran's Hall.

"He felt absolutely terrible that this happened. He did not want any part of this," Richmond Police Lt. Felix Tan said. "He thought it was a legitimate purchase. Unfortunately it wasn't."

Police had been searching for thieves who were caught on surveillance video stealing a cannon from the Veteran's Hall in Richmond on May 1 as vendors set up the city's Cinco de Mayo festival.

Surveillance video at the scene shows the crooks pulling into the lot, cutting the cannon's chain and towed the 1-ton brass and iron weapon away. The theft took place in under a minute.

Veteran Art Hunt, 79, said the cannon is priceless and is a symbol of freedom for those who have called the Veteran's Hall home, including the nation's first all-black tank battalion.

"It's a precious item to us," Hunt said. "It's worth more than gold to this building. It's worth more than gold."

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