CORAL GABLES, FLA. (WSVN) - A pricey teddy bear being used to raise money for charity has been returned to a restaurant in Coral Gables after a man was caught on surveillance video snatching the stuffed animal from the business.
The security footage shows the man as he grabbed a red jumbo bear from The Gramercy along Miracle Mile, Thursday afternoon.
“A car stopped, and a gentleman with long hair came out of the car, picked up one of the bears that I have behind me and just ran off,” said Carlos Cruz, the restaurant’s director of operations.
The theft left Cruz in shock and dismay.
“It happened in midday. We were not expecting something like this would happen in a community like this,” he said.
The Gramercy is a destination for high-end clientele and celebrities, including Luis Fonsi and Gloria and Lili Estefan.
The bear is one of several that are being auctioned off for $500 as part of the restaurant’s Bears in Chairs fundraiser.
They are typically seated outside the business.
The Gramercy’s management said their frustration has nothing to do with the plush animal.
“It’s about the actual — everything behind what we’re trying to do for the community,” said Cruz.
The stolen teddy is sold for $500 to raise money for the Lotus House, a local homeless charitable foundation.
“A hundred percent of that is donated to the Lotus House, plus we match every dollar.”
The restaurant immediately reported the theft to Coral Gables Police. They had a welcome update on Friday afternoon.
“The authorities have located the bear already, and shortly it will be returned back to us, and obviously, we can continue our campaign for the Lotus House,” said Cruz.
Investigators have not released the identity of the man in the surveillance video.
Police said the teddy bear was brought back just before dinnertime.
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