A puppeteer passing through San Francisco has been reunited with hundreds of Persian shadow puppets that were inside a U-Haul van stolen from Van Ness Avenue Sunday night.
SFist mentioned the theft Monday, and it felt especially tragic given the work invested in the 500 shadow puppets for the show's creator Hamid Rahmanian — and the fact that the thieves would have no use for them. Rahmanian and his crew had just finished a couple of weekend performances at the Fort Mason Center of the show Song of the North, which is based on an ancient Persian poem. They had gone to bed at the Comfort Inn By the Bay on Van Ness Avenue, and they awoke Monday to find that their U-Haul truck was stolen.
The story was covered by the Chronicle and several news outlets, including KTVU, and it was KTVU's coverage that caught the attention of one Richmond resident, who had noticed a U-Haul truck parked on her block since Monday morning.
As KTVU now reports, Rahmanian got a call from San Francisco Police investigators, and he was there across the Bay in Richmond Wednesday afternoon to see what was left inside the truck.
The thieves had apparently rummaged through the truck's contents and caused some damage, but it seems like at least some or most of the shadow puppets were still there.
"It was ravaged through and ripped apart, and I have to sit down somewhere and assess the damage," Rahmanian tells KTVU.
He added, "It's a lot to process. I think it's great, thank you for the community, thank you guys, thank you for the person who saw your reportage and reported to the police. It's amazing."
The SFPD's CSI team dusted the truck for fingerprints, and they said the truck's ignition was apparently punched.
The national tour of Song of the North will now likely continue — and it was supposed to make it to New York City at some point.
Rahmanian tells KTVU, "It seems salvageable. But I'm sure we're gonna miss a few shows."
The next performance was scheduled for Friday at Seattle's Meany Center.