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Home burglars take staircase, kitchen sink

GILROY, Calif. --Home burglars who literally made off with the kitchen sink hit the jackpot with another odd item stolen in the same heist: a wrought-iron staircase banister worth $120,000, police said.

The two-story banister and other home furnishings disappeared sometime around Dec. 19 from a Gilroy home that was being remodeled, Deputy Serg Palanov, spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department, said Thursday.

The total value of the items was about $150,000, authorities said.

Investigators said they were scouring the eBay auction Web site and local flea markets and salvage yards for any sign of the railing.

Authorities believe the intruders entered the 1920s home through a missing door and might have posed as work crews. No one was home at the time.

They suspect the theft is connected to two other recent burglaries at nearby homes in Gilroy, about 30 miles south of San Jose.

Besides alder wood doors, sinks and a large burl wood table, the thieves also made off with the expensive hardwood-lined staircase banister rail, which was bolted securely to the floor and featured sculpted bronze horse heads on its steel uprights, police said.

"The banister had been ripped out of the floor at its base," Palanov said. "I don't know if someone thought it was gold, because otherwise, you don't come into a house and say, 'Hey! A staircase!'"

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