Truffles, the pudgy 3-foot stuffed Kodiak bear that has greeted customers outside a Paso Robles candy shop for more than a decade, is missing.
The much loved, often hugged and sometimes smudged bear is something of an icon in the Downtown City Park area where it has long sat in an iron chair greeting customers outside the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
But on Tuesday someone swiped the bear and the chair that he was sitting in.
Patricia Harden, manager of the shop, says that employees are devastated. The bear was last seen around 7 p.m. Tuesday, offering that silent, stoic company that so many visitors love.
Truffles is described as about 40 inches tall, nearly as wide, quiet and really darn cute.
Harden filed a police report and created a missing bear poster hoping to get him back.
She is even offering a tantalizing reward to anyone who assists in Truffles safe return: a giant 10-pound candy bar.
Probably without a witness it will be a very difficult case to investigate, said Lt. Ty Lewis of the Paso Robles Police Department.
The bears mug shot wont be posted on milk cartons, and Fish and Game hasnt been assigned to the case yet.
Teddy bears typically arent serialized, and there is no DNA at the scene. But we are hopeful someone with a guilty conscience will come forward, Lewis said.
There is a good chance that a patron of a nearby bar decided to take the bear home. It is kind of cold outside, Lewis said.
Harden said that other bears across the country serve as mascots for all of the companys stores.
The bear, which is valued at about $300, was last seen attached to a wrought iron chair, wearing a maroon apron with the saying, If God wanted me thin chocolate would be a vegetable, on it. The bear was also wearing a blue shirt with the saying, Will work for chocolate.
Anyone with information is asked to call the store 226-7598.
A sweet reward awaits.
Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.