Boulder police have been investigating the theft of a large, stuffed bear from outside the Montbell store on Pearl Street and last night, Thursday, June 20, 2013, detectives and officers from the Target Crime Team unit rescued the bear from a campsite in the Roosevelt National Forest outside of Boulder.

Three male suspects, visiting from out of state, kidnapped the bear on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 just before 7 p.m. Although the Pearl Street Mall is generally crowded with people, no one was able to identify the culprits or their getaway car.

]Montbell Bear in Detective Section

Police didn’t have much to work with in the way of suspect information until last evening, when they found a Craig’s List personal ad showing a photo of a man hugging the bear outside the Montbell store. The ad asked the women who “may or may not have helped” steal the bear to contact the poster. Police contacted the suspect through the ad, and he confessed to stealing the bear with his friends.

The suspect told police that he and his accomplices (all are from out of state) took the bear camping in the Roosevelt National Forest, because they thought it would be “fun.” When they left their campsite to return home, they gifted the bear to another group of out-of-state campers they’d met over the past few days.

The suspect from the Craig’s List ad gave police directions to the campsite, and officers drove to the area last night. When they arrived they immediately located the bear — which was being held against his will–  in a nearby Jeep. Police interviewed the campers, and they were cooperative during the investigation.

Officers recovered the bear and gave him a special escort back to the Boulder Police Department, where he spent the night. (See attached photo).

The bear does not appear to be injured, but he was missing his fishing vest when police found him. The bear has not shared any information about what happened to him during the incident, so details are not available.

It will be up to the owners of the Montbell store to decide whether to pursue charges.

The bear will be returned this afternoon.