Strangers come together to help Vancouver woman find special stolen teddy bear

Mara Soriano and Mama Bear.
(Image credit: Screenshot/YouTube/Global News)

Mama Bear was Mara Soriano's last link to her late mother, and thanks to the kindness of strangers and two good Samaritans, the stuffed animal is back where she belongs.

Mara's mom, Marilyn Soriano, made the stuffed animal at Build-A-Bear in 2017. Her creation, dubbed Mama Bear, had a pair of glasses and jacket like one she wore. Marilyn, who had been diagnosed with cancer, also recorded a message for her daughter that was put inside the bear. Mara told The Canadian Press that her mother's voice would later change because of the cancer, and "that bear was basically the last reminder of the mom that I knew — it was her voice that I remembered growing up." Marilyn died in June 2019.

Last Friday, Mara was moving out of her Vancouver apartment when she was distracted by a phone call. During this time, someone stole the backpack containing Mama Bear, leaving her distraught. She put up posters and asked for help online, and the word spread, amplified by celebrities like Ryan Reynolds. Mara also posted surveillance footage of the suspected thief, and earlier this week, two good Samaritans contacted her and said they recognized the person in the video and told him to turn over the backpack.

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Mara and Mama Bear were reunited on Tuesday night, and while the stuffed animal's glasses are missing, she is otherwise in perfect condition. "Not a single scratch, not a single thread is off," Mara said. She is getting married next summer, and told The Canadian Press Mama Bear will sit where her mom would have been.Catherine Garcia

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.