"It's a little bit of an icon up there, it's a very quaint community," said Cpl. Krista Hobday with the North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP. "We're not sure what motive would be behind stealing such an icon."
Hansel and Gretel's Candy Company owner Ward Yeager said his store is decorated with 30 to 40 bears of various sizes on its lawn.
"The garden's just one of those special spots — if you go to Chemainus you've got to go to the garden," said Yeager.
He estimates between 50,000 and 100,000 visitors stop off at the spot each year.
Yeager said the rogue grizzly, which he calls Sleepy Bear or Big Bear, was a custom order made by a master carver in the U.S., weighs 300 pounds — and is worth about $2,000.
Given the bear's weight, and the fact that it was bolted to a railing, the RCMP and Yeager believe it would have taken more than one person to steal it.
"It's not something that you would casually steal," said Yeager. "You would have to be making a pretty significant effort."
The RCMP are actively investigating the theft and are appealing to the public to call the RCMP if they have any information about Sleepy Bear's whereabouts.
"This is very easy to identify," said Hobday. "We do believe that whoever does have it in their possession, that others know about that."
RCMP urge anyone with information on this incident to contact them at 250-748-5522, or to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers on 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or at solvecrime.ca.Suggest a correction