SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Family members and the team behind San Francisco's Metro Hotel are celebrating tonight after a tragic theft of more than 100 priceless family mementos earlier in the month.
The simple act of hanging up artwork at the Metro Hotel symbolizes a momentous occasion for the Soulis family. Quite a contrast to what we found there just 10 days ago.
"My heart my heart sank and I went into pure panic," said Shana Soulis, one of the owners of the hotel along Divisadero Street.
When we met Shana more than a hundred of her late father's paintings were to be displayed in the property's guest rooms. Moved from his studio in Sonoma down to San Francisco in a Uhaul. Until tragedy struck.
"At 6 a.m. when we got up to get started, the truck was gone," Gene Barnes, the hotel's creative director said.
The Uhaul and its contents were stolen. Nearly the entire body of work by Ted Soulis, a well-known businessman, politician and artist who passed away in 2007 were gone.
"I just pray the people who took the art have the decency to consider what this art means." Gene said shortly after the theft happened.
Those prayers were answered just days later thanks to help from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office investigators who located the Uhaul in San Lorenzo and coordinated with SFPD.
Sgt. Ray Kelly calls this kind of resolution, "extremely rare".
"I'm suspecting the suspect in this case probably didn't know what they had and didn't know what to do with it and maybe abandoned ship once they realized it wasn't a truck full of laptops."
While the case is ongoing to find whoever took the art those at the hotel hold no ill will. Just gratitude.
"I think the universe works in mysterious ways," smiles Gene.
This is indeed the perfect ending, and in a way, a message from Ted as the paintings were identified on the day before the anniversary of his death 13-years ago.
"I couldn't have wished or hopes for anything better than that. I feel so full of gratitude and appreciation for everyone." Smiles Shana, through happy tears.
The artwork is now being hung up on the hotel for guests from around the world to enjoy.