Four paintings stolen Friday night from Michael Rosenthal’s Valencia St. art gallery were recovered in the wee hours of Saturday morning, according to artist Timothy Buckwalter. They were sold somewhere on Market St. to a goodhearted soul who called police when he saw news reports about the theft.

No one is quite sure what the robbers were thinking. The paintings were made by Pacifica-based artist Terry Hoff, who’s well-known locally but hardly would seem likely to fetch much on the black market. You gotta hand it to the thieves, though, who  disarmed the gallery’s alarm and bypassed a bunch of other valuable stuff, including cameras and computers, in favor of the paintings. They knew what they wanted and how to get it. If only we knew what the heck they were thinking.

(Maybe they were just plain desperate. After all, things are pretty bad out there in the conventional get-a-job, earn-a-paycheck economy. New numbers came out Friday showing that California’s unemployment has topped 10 percent — the worst since 1983 — and though San Francisco’s jobless rate is a little better (8.3 percent), it’s hardly something to cheer about. Here in the Mission more and more people are looking for fewer and fewer jobs, and Healthy San Francisco, the city’s effort to provide health care for the unemployed and uninsured is bursting at the seams.)

In happier news, people are still falling in love and getting married in California. Except, of course, for same-sex couples, who are having to “reaffirm their partnerships” while they await a decision in the Prop 8 case that’s before the state Supremes right now. The Mission District courtship between Kevin and Karl, described in this Sunday’s New York Times weddings section, involves a local cafe and laundromat — and a bike accident. It’s a sweet antidote to the usual heavy news.

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