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 Island 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

 

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)

The note found with the bear. (Photo submitted)

Just Posted

Parksville’s McMillan Arts Centre set to reopen on June 18

Local artists will have work on display; COVID-19 protocols observed

RDN Transit will start collecting bus fare again next week

Passenger limits will remain in effect on buses

‘A bottomless well of love for people and communities’

Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor JR Rardon dies at age 61

COVID-19: Learning continues in unique ways for SD 69 students

Youngsters find ways to excel while learning at home

Petition underway to get RDN to improve Sandpiper water quality

Campaign urges regional district to make issue a priority

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

28 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in ong-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Royal B.C. Museum reopens in phases, some galleries remain closed to start summer

Victoria museum and archives open first galleries June 19

B.C. man with Alberta plates gets car keyed and aggressive note

Some out-of-province people are finding hostile reception due to COVID-19 worries

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

Case of missing Vancouver Island woman inspires new true crime podcast

‘Island Crime’ Season 1 covers 2002 disappearance of Nanaimo’s Lisa Marie Young

Most Read