A homeless man in the West Oakland suburb of San Francisco found the 122-year-old bell stolen from St. Mary's Cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. The 2.6 ton bronze bell was stolen from the churchyard over the last month, according to police. It is presumed that the culprits wanted to sell the bell for its metal content. It consists of 80 percent copper and 10 percent tin.

A church spokesman said the bell was covered in rags at a salvage yard near the Port of Oakland, perhaps minutes away from being destroyed. The diocese must hire a truck and crane to retrieve the historic bell. Police will also question the salvage yard owners.

Cast in 1889, the bell once chimed from the old St Mary's Cathedral, which was destroyed by arson in the early 1960s. Since then, the bell as been on display in the churchyard. During the infamous San Francisco earthquake and conflaguration in 1906, the St Mary's bell chimed to warn the living and toll for the dead. 

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