CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Giant teddy bears are hard to resist. One man decided to steal a pricey one that was being auctioned for charity at a South Florida restaurant Thursday night, and it was caught on surveillance cameras.
Happily, the bear was returned Friday, nearly a day after it was stolen from The Gramercy Miami in Coral Gables, WSVN reported. Surveillance footage from outside the new restaurant in the city’s Miracle Mile district caught a man jumping out of a car, grabbing one of the jumbo teddy bears on display outside and jumping back in the vehicle, the Miami Herald reported.
“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,” Carlos Cruz, the restaurant’s director of operations, told WSVN. “It happened in midday. We were not expecting something like this would happen in a community like this.”
The bear was one of several stuffed animals being auctioned off for $500 each as part of The Gramercy’s “Bears in Chairs” promotion, WFOR reported. The charity was held to benefit Lotus House Shelter, an organization that helps improve the lives of homeless women and children.
Television star Lili Estefan posed with one of the bears at the restaurant, which opened in December 2020, the Herald reported. Singer Gloria Estefan and singer-songwriter Luis Fonsi have also frequented the eatery, according to WSVN.
The restaurant immediately reported the theft to the Coral Gables Police Department, the television station reported. On Friday afternoon, Cruz said he received some good news.
“The authorities have located the bear already, and shortly it will be returned back to us,” Cruz told WSVN. “Obviously, we can continue our campaign for the Lotus House.”
Police said they have identified the person in the video and charges are pending, WPLG reported. Police have not identified the thief, the television station reported.
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