NC police searching for iconic bear swiped from gift shop

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) - Bernie the Bear is missing.

The iconic bear statute vanished from Bern Bear Gifts Saturday and police are looking for answers.

Bernie is the second bear stolen from the location and New Bern residents don't want to have to bare another loss.

The 6-foot, 400-pound bear was stolen from the store on downtown Pollock Street.

This is the second bear stolen from John Sturman, who has lived in New Bern for around 30 years.

And this is not the first bear stolen from the town either.

"I think it's systematic," said Sturman. "When you grow and get bigger and more activity in the downtown area necessitates things like that happening."

Cpt. Bobby Jones of the New Bern police said he understands Sturman's concerns and wants people to understand it is a serious crime.

"We definitely feel like we've done a good job patrolling the downtown area," said Jones. "Unfortunately, even when we do everything right, things like this do happen. Like I said, we do take it seriously. We are investigating it, the crime, because it is a crime. We are conducting a follow-up to try to catch the perpetrator."

Bern Bear Gifts is missing a piece of its history and all Sturman hopes to do is wait for Bernie to return home for the sake of his beloved customers.

"It's an iconic bear," said Sturman. "It goes back 300 years here and 1191 in Switzerland, our mother city. Just think what that all the people that relate to that as they come by the store, if they have any kind of European heritage, especially Swiss heritage."

The New Bern police department is urging anyone who may have information about where Bernie is to contact them.

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