Still no sign of stolen 'Mama Bear,' but substitute coming for grieving B.C. woman
VANCOUVER -- Mara Soriano is still desperately searching for the stolen teddy bear that served as a lasting reminder of her late mother's love – but in the meantime, she's getting the next best thing.
In the days since someone stole Soriano's "Mama Bear" from Vancouver's West End, her sad story has spread around the world, signal boosted by celebrities like Ryan Reynolds, Zach Braff and Dan Levy.
"I have no words. I'm so grateful for the outreach," Soriano said Monday. "If my mom were here to see this, she would just cry. She and I are both criers – we can't speak, we both just start crying when something amazing like this happens."
The stuffed animal was created by her mom, Marilyn, at the Build-A-Bear Workshop before cancer robbed her of her voice. It was designed to resemble her mother, oversized glasses and all, and included a recording that said, in part: "No matter where you are, part of me will always be with you forever. I love you."
While many Vancouverites have been keeping their eyes peeled for the priceless memento, there's no telling whether it will ever turn up. For now, Soriano said Build-A-Bear has reached out to her and offered to replace the bear using a video recording she made on Mother's Day.
"I know it won't be the same bear that my mom made with her own hands, but now it'll remind me of her AND the time the world came together for us for a few days," she wrote on Twitter early Tuesday.
Soriano said she was told "there's a good chance they can recreate the outfit" the bear was wearing, which included a white jacket and a red dress with a fruit print.
And while the recording she made earlier this year was a bit muffled, Soriano said a kind stranger has already cleaned it up for her.
"They're an audio technician of some sort and they took the audio and they remastered it," she said.
The bear was inside a Herschel backpack along with other important items, including passports and citizenship documents, when someone grabbed it from the alley behind the Shoppers Drug Mart near Davie and Thurlow streets on Friday.
Soriano said she was in the process of moving when she learned a friend of hers had been struck by a van, and in her shock, she left the backpack alone for about 10 minutes.
The theft has been reported to the Vancouver Police Department, which has obtained surveillance video of a man in a baseball cap carrying Soriano's bag. Anyone with information on the bear's whereabouts can contact Soriano by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or police at 604-737-3321.