Update: A shopper spotted the bear in an antique shop. The owner contacted police and all is well that ends well. Read the update in the Statesman Journal
A Salem barber arrived at his shop on Election Day and noticed something missing from his storefront — a 5-foot-tall, hand-carved mama bear statue.
Larry Hayworth, owner of Larry's Family Barber on 3792 Silverton Road NE, said the wooden statue, which clings to a classic barber pole with a baby bear at the base of the pole, was ripped from its base.
"It would take at least two guys to move the bear," Hayworth said. The bear weighs more than 200 pounds. "You take the weight of the bear and the piece of iron through the base, you'd think that would discourage anybody from taking it."
Hayworth installed the bear with a piece of 18-inch steel rebar through the statue's base and concrete to discourage theft of the bear.
The bear theft wasn't the first time property was stolen from his storefront. An antique barber pole and a small camp trailer were stolen in the 32 years at the Silverton Road location, but Hayworth said the bear theft hits closer to home since he helped sketch the design of the custom-made statue.
Hayworth visited a local wood carver roughly 16 years ago with an idea of the sculpture and helped design the final product.
"When it was delivered it took two of us to slide it off the truck, and we managed to get it out and level it out," Hayworth said.
Hayworth filed a report with Marion County Sheriff's Office on November 10. He recruited his wife, daughter, and grandchildren to share posts of the stolen bear on Facebook and monitor Craigslist in hopes the thief tries to sell it online.
Hayworth said he hopes his barbershop is reunited with the wooden bear but joked it may be hidden in someone's backyard.
"I would like whoever has it, to not enjoy it," Hayworth said. "Or heaven forbid make firewood out of it — that would be expensive firewood."
Marion County Sheriff's Office has no suspect. Anyone with information may contact Marion County Sheriff's Office at 503-588-5032.