RICHMOND, Calif. - A U-Haul truck stolen in San Francisco that contained puppets and props for a national touring production was found Wednesday morning across the bay in Richmond.
"Oh my God, oh my God," exclaimed Hamid Rahmanian as a San Francisco police investigator opened the roll-up door of the 26-foot truck on Moyers Road in Richmond.
Inside the truck were pallets containing many of the elaborate puppets, props, masks and costumes that he used for a cinematic shadow-theater show over the weekend in San Francisco.
"Does all that stuff look familiar, the pallets?" a San Francisco police sergeant asked Rahmanian.
"Yes," he responded.
Police told KTVU thieves punched the ignition and rummaged through the truck, leaving behind stolen mail.
"It was ravaged through and ripped apart, and I have to sit down somewhere and assess the damage," Rahmanian said.
The truck was stolen from a parking lot at the comfort inn on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco early Monday morning. When the crew discovered the truck was gone, Rahmanian was devastated.
It's 23 miles from San Francisco to the neighborhood in Richmond. Neighbors say they noticed this U-Haul on the street early Monday morning, which means the thieves most likely came straight here.
A woman saw KTVU's report and realized the stolen truck was sitting right outside her house and had been there since Monday morning.
She tells she was glad she made the connection.
"Just to be helpful to whoever the van belonged to, that they get their property back," she said. "Makes us feel good, we're doing something that's right."
Richmond and San Francisco police came to the scene. SFPD CSI investigators came to Richmond to dust the U-Haul for fingerprints and other evidence.
Rahmanian says he's relieved he has his property back.
"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," he said.
The show's future - which was to have included a stop in Broadway - now in flux.
"It seems salvageable. But I'm sure we're gonna miss a few shows, but I'm so overwhelmed - happy," he said.
Henry Lee is a KTVU crime reporter. E-mail Henry at Henry.Lee@fox.com and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and www.facebook.com/henrykleefan