MOUNT LAUREL — People all over the state are making donations to Toys for Tots and other organizations this holiday season, but at least person decided to use the box for their own good and swipe two large bears, according to police.

The bearnappings were reported at the Prospector's Steakhouse and Saloon on Route 38 early on the morning of Nov. 30. A man was seen on surveillance video leaving the restaurant after pulling a bear from one box. He is then seen on video again a few minutes later taking another bear from a nearby box.

This is not the first time a stuffed animal has been swiped from a New Jersey restaurant. Back in October a bear that celebrated autism awareness was taken from the Allwood Diner in Clifton. The diner owners took to social media to help get "Teddy" back.  As it turned out, it was social media that helped find the person responsible for taking him.

Some diner customers reported seeing a video on Instagram o the theft from inside the getaway car.

"It was clear they were having much fun 'bearnapping' our mascot and were even more proud to post their accomplishment. Thankfully all the attention in social media as well as the coverage from all the news channels helped us incredibly in getting him back. To him it was just a stuffed bear, but he quickly realized what this bear meant to Allwood Diner and the Clifton community," read a Facebook post from the diner after Teddy was safely recovered.

Mount Laurel police describe the man who took the bears as being in his mid to late 30s with dreadlocks. The department is asking anyone with information about the incident to contact police at 856-234-8300.

New Jersey 101.5 is partnering with the New Jersey State Policeman's Benevolent Association collecting "Feel Better Bears" at locations around the state. The bears collected will be used by departments to help comfort children during emergency situations.


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