Mara Soriano is combing Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood for the fourth day in a row looking for signs of her stolen teddy bear that contains a message from her deceased mother.
The custom Build-A-Bear was inside her black Herschel backpack when a thief took it on Friday. The bag was leaned against Soriano’s U-Haul truck while she and her fiancé moved into their new apartment.
“The thief can take the iPad, the Switch, the Google Home. Just give back the bear. No questions asked. No charges,” Soriano told Daily Hive in a phone interview.
The teddy bear contains a voice recording from Soriano’s mother, who died of cancer last year. She said her mother’s voice changed as she became more ill, and the bear’s recording is the last memory she has of how her mother sounded when she was healthy.
“It was on my desk. I would look at it every day and squeeze it every time I missed her,” Soriano said.
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Local businesses have been helping Soriano by letting her see their security footage. Soriano has been able to see the man who took her backpack and has shared footage of him walking through the West End with her pack on his front.
UPDATE: Footage of the back alley, he put the backpack on his front. He was wearing a hat and kept his head down. This is him for sure!! pic.twitter.com/eAgMzLzR2D
— mara soriano | FIND MAMABEAR VANCOUVER (@drawmaradraw) July 26, 2020
Vancouver-raised celebrity Ryan Reynolds has also become invested in the search, offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who returns the bear to Soriano.
“It has been so wild. Everyone has just picked up on our story,” Soriano said, adding the generosity of the community has brought tears of gratitude.
The loss of the bear is even harder because Soriano is the only member of her family who lives in Vancouver. The rest are back in Mississauga.
She hopes that if enough people keep an eye out for the bear it will be returned.