Local Man Gets His Bear Back

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VAN BUREN (KFSM) -- A Fort Smith man romanced a woman he loved 20 years ago with a six-foot-tall replica bear. After she passed away, the bear was stolen from her former Van Buren home.

But after weeks of searching, the bear is back with its rightful owner.

Thanks to an anonymous phone call and a license plate number, Bill Engles has been reunited with his beloved bear.

Engles says the anonymous caller saw the bear being loaded onto a truck in Alma.

"You'll notice he's put on 40 pounds," joked Engles to the 5NEWS cameras.

His new family should help him put the weight back on.

"We've known Mr. Bill since I was these kids' age," Farrah Shoppach said, pointing to her young children, "The bear is so special to Mr. Bill that he wanted a family to adopt the bear and take care of it."

"I've had a whole bunch (of people) wanting to know; did I get the bear back? Well, we got our bear back now," Engles said with a smile on his face.

The bear will now call Greenwood home.