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Oakland Thieves Make Off With Relic From USS Maine

OAKLAND (CBS/AP) - A group of unusually determined thieves has stolen from an Oakland park a five-foot-tall brass port hole that once graced a 19th Century battleship.

City naturalist Stephanie Benavidez said that the colossal ring from the USS Maine probably was taken to be sold as scrap metal.

Park officials noticed that the port hole had been knocked from its concrete foundation last week, but did not take immediate steps to secure it.

It was discovered missing from Lakeside Park on Saturday, along with tire tracks and boards apparently used to roll it onto a truck. The ring weighed more than a ton.

The 1898 sinking of the USS Maine in a Havana accelerated tensions that eventually led to the Spanish-American war.

(Copyright 2011 by CBSSan Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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