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By: Greg Ellison for

BOULDER, Colo. — Pearl Street regulars have likely noticed the over-sized stuffed bear outside of the MontBell store. Boulder Police were called to track down its whereabouts after pranksters removed the bear from its normal habitat on Tuesday.

Detectives caught a break in the case when the men suspected of bear-napping posted a personal ad on Craigslist which included a photo of a man giving the stuffed animal a bear hug.

Police contacted the poster who they said confessed to the incident. The man admitted to Police that he and two male accomplices, all from out-of-state, decided to bring the bear along for a camping trip to Roosevelt National Forest as they thought it would be “fun.”

When the men left the forest to return home, they transferred custody to another group of out-of-state campers they had befriended.

The Craigslist poster provided detectives with directions to the bear’s location, and the Boulder Target Crime Team visited the area Thursday night and immediately spotted the wayward bear. The second group of campers were interviewed and cooperated fully with police, who said the bear was being “held against his will” in a nearby Jeep.

Other than a missing fishing vest, the bear does not appear to have sustained any injuries during the ordeal.

After recovering the bear, officers gave him a special escort back to the Boulder Police Department. Following a night in police custody, the bear will be returned to his rightful owners this afternoon.

Owners of the MontBell store will now have to decide if they will pursue charges. So far the bear has not provided any information about the incident.