Custom ring stolen from San Francisco tourists but engagement is on

Wayne Freedman Image
ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Thursday, August 29, 2019
Custom ring stolen from SF tourists but engagement is on
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A Philadelphia man had elaborate plans to propose to his girlfriend in Yosemite. But the custom ring was stolen from their parked car during a stop in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Alan Huang of Philadelphia had elaborate plans for his vacation to San Francisco and Yosemite National Park earlier this month. After 14 years of dating, he had commissioned a ring so that he could propose to Helen Zhao during a hike in Yosemite National Park.

Alas, the sapphire ring never made it.

Before checking into their VRBO, the couple parked on 20th Street between Dolores and Guerrero.

An hour later, they discovered someone had stolen their luggage from the rental car.

"Alan sat on the curb with his head in his hands, distraught," Helen told us. Later, when filing a police report, she learned why. It's hardly the kind of proposal a woman hopes for.

San Francisco police report no progress with the case, though the department cites a 10 percent decrease in automobile burglaries this year compared with last. Still, that's 13,676 break-ins from January 1 through July 31.

Last year, the city instituted a Park Smart warning campaign aimed at tourists, with signage and pamphlets.

"No one warned us about break-ins," said Helen.

Since returning to Philadelphia, Alan has commissioned Emily Chelsea Jewelry to remake another version. "It's unique. It's beautiful. My heart broke for them," said Emily Phillippy, who alerted Bay Area jewelers of the theft. "It was a special and distinct sapphire."

Despite the theft, Helen and Alan are engaged. He slipped a piece of costume jewelry on her finger as they hiked Yosemite's Eagle Peak. "It's just a ring," she said. If they can get through this? "Anything," she said.