The Three Bears family in Chemainus is down to two.
Sometime during the early morning hours Monday, someone dislodged a carving of baby bear from its anchored place with rebar and cement at the Secret Garden Ice Cream Shoppe.
The building and statues are owned by Kathy Berscheid-Yeager and husband Ward Yeager.
“Sad day for our Chemainus children as we will not be replacing,” noted Berscheid-Yeager.
She added the replacement cost would be significant and the artist has retired anyway.
Thefts around Chemainus have been abundant in recent months and business owners keep taking a big hit each time.
“We have been not publicizing a lot of the stuff for the sake of our community which we dearly love,” Berscheid-Yeager indicated. “This one just hurts my husband so much. He designed and had an Oregon artist do all these, including posts. Then Ward drove down and picked up each piece over the years. Can’t be replaced as the artist is retired and we are tired and done.”
Surveillance at the store captured images of the suspect that have been widely circulated.
Berscheid-Yeager added the bear weighs about 130 pounds so she assumes the thief must have had a vehicle near-by to cart it away.
She noted North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP were at their house at 3 a.m. to get the video clip and it was pointed out to the officer there were some fingerprints on freshly-painted posts to help in the investigation.
Condemnation of the theft has been swift around the community.
“This is getting out of hand,” conceded Julie Stevens, another business owner in town. “It makes me so upset you set up the secret garden for all to enjoy and this lowlife destroys not only your efforts but your spirit. I hope someone comes forward to identify him.”
“So horrible,” commented Tracy McGivern. “I’m so sad. My grandkids love that little bear.”
“It hurts everyone to see this garden being violated,” added Janet Smith. “So many wonderful memories. I am sure everyone will be on the lookout for the return of the bear.”
“That’s horrible,” remarked Kristy Davis. “Those statues are a part of this community and add to its charm. I hope this person is caught ASAP.”
Residents viewing the video felt it’s probably not a street person who did the crime because he had a band on his ring finger, clean clothes and a nice watch.
Everyone is just hoping this version of the Three Bears has a happy ending.