Thief steals bear carving after violently kicking and yanking it from anchor

Update: The stolen bear carving has turned up on a local forestry road — along with a note of apology [story here]


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A $4,000 wooden-bear carving was stolen from Baby Bear’s Ice Cream Shoppe in Chemainus early Monday, with surveillance video showing a man violently kicking it and pulling it from its cement-and-rebar roost.

Even though the bear weighs in at about 63 kilograms, the man easily picks it up and walks away. Only its feet are left behind.

The theft about 2:30 a.m. marks the third time a bear carving has been taken in recent years from the store — part of a complex known as the Secret Garden — and has owners Kathy and Ward Seager considering closing their business.

“We’re talking about it really seriously,” Kathy Yeager said. She said her husband has gone from “complete devastation to deflation to frustration to anger” after the series of incidents.

She said one of the previously stolen carvings was eventually returned, but was too damaged to put back on display, while the other was never seen again.

“So then we started cementing and rebarring,” Yeager said.

That didn’t work on Monday, she said, and the culprit or culprits seemed to have a purpose.

“They came in a car, lights off and came in the wrong direction in the alley, and then backed out.”

Yeager said there has been a huge outpouring of support from the public in response to the theft. “We live in a wonderful community.”

Mother- and father-bear carvings were left behind. The baby, which was set between its parents, can’t be replaced because the Oregon carver who created it has retired, Yeager said.

She said the baby was made with an ice-cream cone in each hand.

“People could stand behind and take family pictures.”

North Cowichan/Duncan Const. Pam Bolton said an investigation is ongoing. She said police went to the scene and called in forensic officers to look for fingerprints and other clues.

Other than the bears, Yeager said, the store has suffered numerous other thefts — even security cameras have been taken.

Bolton confirmed the business has been hit multiple times by thieves over the years.

She said police are circulating the surveillance video.

Contact North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522 with any information.

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