Dozens of bronze plaques embedded along the Embarcadero have gone missing, victim to, KTVU reports, thieves who are prying them out of the sidewalk and selling the metal for scrap.
You've probably walked over the plaques we're talking about, which give bite-sized pieces of SF history all along the three miles of Embarcadero sidewalk. These things are right in plain sight, yet somehow, metal thieves have managed to pull a sizable number of them from the pavement.
Metal theft has been a long-standing issue in San Francisco, and even though the SF Board of Supervisors passed legislation in 2012 that created a stricter permitting system for buyers and sellers and gave SFPD increased powers to go after sketchy buyers, Bay Area recyclers continue to purchase things they shouldn't.
According to a press release sent by the San Francisco District Attorney's office in April of this year, all three of San Francisco's metal recyclers have faced prosecution for buying stolen metal, paying a total of $4.6 million dollars in fines and fees. And yet, someone is apparently still buying these 8-pound plaques, which KTVU say go for about $12 at a metal recycler.
With the increased attention on the Embarcadero's art, it seems possible that the Castro might be the miscreants' next target: bronze thieves have struck the nabe before, swiping the Harvey Milk plaque from outside Castro Muni back in 2011. And now there are those 20 brand spanking new bronze plaques laid along that street's sidewalk, just waiting to be pilfered.
Here's hoping the thieves go after the ones with those horrible typos first.