Reunited and it feels so good. Ward and Kathy Yeager back with the full bear family outside Baby Bears Ice Cream Shoppe. (Photo by Don Bodger)

‘I am so sorry’: Stolen Baby Bear statue reunited with Mama, Papa Bear in B.C. town

Culprit left it near the Henry Road roundabout in Chemainus with a note attached

Intense media and social media scrutiny has resulted in the return of the Baby Bear statue, stolen in the early morning hours Monday from its perch in Chemainus’ Secret Garden.

Kathy and Ward Yeager are ecstatic to have the bear back in its rightful place with Mama and Papa Bear at Baby Bears Ice Cream Shoppe.

The bear was found by a trucker off the haul road near the Henry Road roundabout Tuesday morning. A note attached read: “I am so sorry for taking the bear.”

Duncan/North Cowichan RCMP came to the ice cream shoppe to deliver the bear where they met Chris Webb, who does computer work for the Yeagers and was there to see if he could extract more images of the culprit from the surveillance camera at the business.

Webb quickly called the Yeagers with the good news.

“I couldn’t believe it when we got the call this morning,” said Kathy.

“I hoped it would be returned and I’m happy, very happy,” said Ward.

“Our community really pulls together,” added Kathy. “It’s a community artifact.”

Baby Bear had his feet ripped out during the theft from a cemented stand, and was a little worse for wear but will now at least be able to heal and get back to his rightful place.

Kathy was quick to credit the staff at the Chemainus Health Care Centre’s Urgent Care – and, specifically, Dr. Jim Broere and R.N. Gina Boudot – for springing into action.

“Even the doctors helped out to get him repaired,” marvelled Ward. “It’s the first bear Dr. Broere has operated on.”

While the medical staff was working on his feet, “the I.V. was honey,” chuckled Ward.

The theft of the bear drew province-wide attention for the senseless nature of the crime where the suspect could be seen repeatedly kicking at the statue to dislodge it, but also as a symbol of escalating incidents pertaining to property crime in communities.

Ward expressed his gratitude to the news media for the response that undoubtedly had something to do with the bear’s return.

“We had so many thousands of people who’ve responded,” he said.

“The Garden here is a little bit of Chemainus. Everybody likes to come here. Everybody has taken a bit of ownership of this. This is a moment I can say we’ve got a nice ending here, albeit we’ve got a bit of repair to do. He’s part of the family.”

Video surveillance was crucial, too, with clear images of the suspect being released, Ward added.

“This was actually very violent when you take a look at the video. When you steal things, you’re not going to do that anonymity anymore. If I was him, I’d be terribly embarrassed. I think his family should be terribly embarrassed what he did.”

The Yeagers aren’t about to let him off the hook just because the bear’s been returned and hope he’ll still be identified to face charges.

Fairy tales and fables do come true, and the tale of the Three Bears, in Chemainus at least, does have a happy ending.

“In the spring, I think we’ll have a grand opening where Baby Bear will be re-installed,” said Ward.

At the same time, there will be free ice cream for all.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The note found with the bear. (Photo submitted)

Baby Bear weighs 130 pounds and is a tough little guy. Kathy and Ward Yeager know he’ll bounce back just fine after getting some repairs. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Just Posted

Lumby Lions name Good Citizen of the Year

Award goes to Lumby Food Bank operator and North Okanagan Valley Gleaners volunteer Robert Wilkinson

North Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Vernon youth questioned by RCMP after incident on school roof

Police receive reports of debris being thrown from Seaton Secondary roof Saturday

Vernon restaurant winging it with colour

Wings hosts colouring contests where child patrons can win gift certificates

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Most Read