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Around the South Bay

February 14, 1988|Sheryl Stolberg

The burglars who tried to steal antique silver trays and candlesticks from the General Phineas Banning Residence Museum in Wilmington didn't get away with it.

Police say they left most--if not all--of their booty behind.

They also left a mess in the kitchen.

Lt. Mike Melton of the Los Angeles Police Department's Harbor Division said police "found that they had cooked some eggs in the kitchen." The evidence: The gas stove was still on, and there was a dirty frying pan in the sink.

The hungry thieves, who struck between 5 p.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. Sunday, entered the 23-room museum through a second-floor window, apparently climbing a rope to get in. They then tied silver trays, candlesticks and flatware in the rope and lowered the goods--and themselves--out the window.

A passer-by found some of the silver on the museum grounds and reported the break to police, who found more silver still tied to the rope hanging from the window.

Melton had no estimate on the value of the silver, and said museum officials are taking an inventory to determine what, if anything, is missing.

The museum is the former home of Phineas Banning, who founded Wilmington. Built in 1864, it is considered the finest example of 19th-Century Greek Revival architecture in Southern California.

Although the museum has a caretaker, Melton said, he apparently slept through the break--and the egg breakfast.

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