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)

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)

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)

The note found with the bear. (Photo submitted)

Just Posted

The City of Nanaimo, as seen from the Nanaimo Parkway. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo’s state of the economy report points to positive outlook in hard times

Job losses and shutdowns have hurt, but some sectors showing resiliency

Firefighters from three departments battled a house fire south of Nanaimo for more than nine hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy Martin Leduc)
Home destroyed by fire south of Nanaimo

Firefighters from three fire departments battle blaze fanned by strong southerly winds on Sunday

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared over at Eden Gardens. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Nanaimo’s Eden Gardens

One staff member and one resident tested positive for the virus over past two weeks

Gabriola Island poet Naomi Beth Wakan’s latest book is ‘Wind on the Heath.’ (Photo courtesy Elias Wakan)
Former Nanaimo poet laureate revisits past poems in latest collection

Gabriola Island’s Naomi Beth Wakan presents career-spanning ‘Wind on the Heath’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

Most Read