Just two months after a 12-foot fiberglass shark was stolen from a North La Crosse Street business, an eight-foot, 300-pound wooden bear has disappeared from a hotel parking lot on the same street.
And employees at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel are astonished that anyone could have taken the large carving that recently survived getting hit by a vehicle.
“It takes probably three guys to pick him up and move him,” the hotel's general manager, Jan Justin, said Monday.
The bear was apparently stolen Thursday night from the front parking lot at 2111 N. La Crosse St. in Rapid City. The general manager said it now feels like a part of the family is missing.
"It's always been at our front door. He's our unofficial greeter. He goes with the bear decor," Justin said.
The wooden bear was taken from the front of the hotel’s maintenance shop, which is visible from the main entrance. Justin said it had been at the front entrance since 1999 but was moved after a vehicle hit it, knocked it down and broke its nose.
The hotel had security staff, maintenance and a front desk clerk on duty when the bear was taken, Justin said.
“He’s been there so long," she said. "It’s kind of like our mascot is missing."
Police are investigating the theft, Rapid City Police spokeswoman Tarah Heupel said Monday.
The bear case comes after a 12-foot fiberglass shark was stolen in May from Pirates Cove Adventure Golf on North Lacrosse Street in Rapid City.
The shark, valued at $6,000, was recovered in a field in Box Elder but no arrests have been made in the case.