A wooden-bear carving stolen early Monday from outside a Chemainus ice-cream store turned up on the side of a local forestry road — along with a note of apology.
A man working in the area of Chemainus Road and MacMillan Bloedel Haul Road came across the carving, worth an estimated $4,000, about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, said North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Const. Pam Bolton.
The note said: “I am so sorry for taking the bear.”
Bolton called the theft “very disappointing.” “Thankfully, through the help of the public, this man felt some pressure and returned the bear,” she said.
Kathy and Ward Yeager, owners of Baby Bear’s Ice Cream Shoppe, decided to have a little fun with the bear’s return and took it to the local health centre for treatment.
“We don’t want bad publicity for our town,” Kathy Yeager said. “There’s a lot of upset children, so we thought: ‘OK, let’s quickly cast these legs’.”
Yeager said the bear, which lost its feet when it was broken off its base, was treated by Dr. Jim Broere and nurse Gina Boudot.
“They gave him the honey IV, they gave him blood pressure, they put an oxygen mask on him,” she said. “It was the first bear that they ever operated on.”
The bear will eventually be cemented back in its place, Yeager said. “We’re going to have a garden party when we permanently reinstall him and let the kids come and sign his little legs.”
Police continue to work to find out who committed the theft, Bolton said. Forensic officers have been at the scene.
The 63-kilogram carving, which sits between mother- and father-bear carvings, was taken about 2:30 a.m. Monday in a theft that was caught on surveillance video. The video shows a man pulling and kicking it until it breaks off its base.
The larger bears were not taken.
Yeager said theft marked the third time a bear carving had been stolen in recent years. One was returned but was too damaged to put back on display, while the other is still missing.
Contact North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) with any information.