Thieves broke into a Redlands home and stole the Redlands Shakespeare Festival's stock of medieval and Renaissance swords, leaving behind only the two swords pictured here.
More than 30 swords in all were taken by the burglars, including an assortment of Italian Renaissance rapiers, medieval short swords, and Scottish claymores, along with a few other props such as canes, walking sticks, and a pirate's scimitar. The festival puts the loss at more than $3,000.
"This is a terrible loss for us," Steven Sabel, founding artistic director of the festival, said in a festival email, which noted that the props are used year after year. "Our budget only allows for us to purchase a few swords at a time each year, and these are swords we have painstakingly collected over eight years. Now we are scrambling to figure what we can do to make sure we have these essential props for our coming season."
The Redlands Shakespeare Festival, running from May 10–27, this year has scheduled Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III, and a pirate-concept production of Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Festival organizers, who believe the heist required more than one thief to carry such a haul, are asking that residents in and around the Redlands area keep an ear and eye out and call the police if swords start showing up "where they don't belong" as the thieves either attempt to sell or give away the weapons. The weapons do not have sharp edges, but they do have sharp points and can be dangerous in untrained hands.
Meanwhile, festival administrators have acquired additional secured storage units for keeping festival sets, props, and costumes safely stored for future seasons. But, with the expense of storage units and the now-added expense of replacing 30 swords, the festival is seeking additional financial assistance from donors.
If you wish to provide such assistance, send your donation to Redlands Shakespeare Festival, Box 546, Redlands, CA 92373.
January 13, 2012