ABILENE, Kan. (KSNW) – Abilene police are searching for a stolen Russell Stover landmark.
It’s a sweet attraction and the center piece for dozens of photos.
“It is a tourist kind of a landmark here in town,” said Abilene’s Russell Stover Plant Manager Paul Willis.
For decades, drivers along I-70 near Abilene, have gotten their candy fix at the Russell Stover factory and candy store. After grabbing some sweet treats, many visitors take a picture with the store’s iconic bear.
“We actually built this patio because so many people did want to take pictures with it,” Willis said. “We even put a sign, don’t stand on the bear, because we didn’t want anyone to fall off.”
The bear which is 3.5 feet tall and 4 feet wide was donated to the Abilene plant by the former owners in the early 1990’s.
“Everybody here in town, when they talk about going by the Russell Stover facility, they expect to see the bear here and they expect to take a picture with it,” Willis said.
However, those expectations won’t be filled anytime soon. Willis said the bear vanished sometime between Nov. 4 and Nov. 5.
“No sign of it,” he said. “We keep looking on Facebook to see if anybody has any pictures of it in their living room or their front porch.”
Abilene police are on the hunt for the bear and the suspected thieves. They are searching KDOT traffic cameras for clues.
In the meantime, factory workers said they are left wondering where the Russell Stover bear might be.
“We don’t know if it will show up on the beach somewhere in a Hawaiian shirt with a margarita or something else,” Willis said.
Dickinson County Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for the return of the bear.