A prosthetic leg found leaning against a tree trunk in front of a cell phone store at 8th and Market Streets by Officer Julio Bandoni is being held by police. And, what's more, it's the focus of a tense investigation by the Chronicle, recounted for you here.

To start, let's spot the pun. "Bandoni didn’t figure he would have it long. He figured whoever lost it would have stepped forward by now." Personally I got a kick out of that. Also, the prosthetic is someone's right, and includes an attached man's brown shoe that's "in good repair." Now, on with the story.

Bandoni proceeded to check on a few of his hunches and connections. First, he went to a panhandler he knew to have a similar prosthetic limb. No dice, as the panhandler was still in possession of his own. Next, the officer contacted a manufacturer of artificial limbs, his friend Michael Plafker. Yet the limb wasn't Plafker's make, not at all. “It wasn’t my style,” he said.

Taking the case from there, the Chronicle consulted Paula Lynch, a prosthetist on Geary Boulevard. She theorized that “it could have been someone who was rushed to the hospital and the limb was left behind." Questions abound, as she also wonders whether the leg's owner suddenly died. Paula did peg the leg's value at around $7,000 in a market where some cost over $100,000.

Drawing the story of the "close-knit world of San Francisco prostheses" to a close, Bandoni and the Chronicle encourage the lost leg's owner to contact the police in order to reclaim it. But where is it now? Bandoni won't say, and that might be the subject of a sequel.