Bear lost — and now ‘kidnappers’ want $10,000 in cupcakes!

for The Brooklyn Paper
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A beloved stuffed animal lost by a traumatized 2-year-old in a Cobble Hill playground last month is facing torture and a painful death — unless the tot’s horrified mother meets the “kidnapper’s” demand for $10,000 worth of cupcakes.

Gluten- and peanut-free, no less.

It might just be a joke — but Susannah Bortner isn’t willing to take that chance.

“I would gladly bake 10,000 cupcakes,” Bortner said, thinking of her toddler, Donovan, and his lost bear, Mr. Bear. “There is a part of me wishing this is real.”

Alas, it likely is not.

But there are a million stories in the naked city — few more gripping, heart-rending and less-plausible than this.

It all started on the otherwise uneventful day of May 9, when Donovan accidentally dropped the teddy bear wrapped in a blue blanket in the PS 29 schoolyard.

“He dropped Mr. Bear, and I didn’t notice until that evening,” Bortner said. “The next day, Mr. Bear was not there.”

Weeks of trauma, anxiety, and sleepless nights for little Donovan led to one last-ditch effort this Sunday: Bortner posted “Lost” signs all over the neighborhood.

The signs featured a photo of Mr. Bear, highlighted by sunrays, plus a mention of a reward of “baked goods” and “good karma.” Bortner hoped the posters would catch the eye of someone with a clue to the whereabouts of the missing bear.

No parent would question this mom’s devotion to getting her child back on a regular sleep schedule.

“It may seem ridiculous to some people, but he [Mr. Bear] is very important to my son,” she said.

A few days after the posters went up, Bortner got her first break in the case.

Unfortunately, the return message — tacked onto the bottom of the original “Lost” poster — consisted of an ultimatum: “We have the blanket. Nothing will happen to it if we get $10,000 of gluten-free cupcakes delivered to this park.”

Lest Bortner not be able to ID the “kidnappers,” the ransom note went on: “I’ll be dressed as a pregnant woman with a baby in a stroller. My accomplice will be wearing a T-shirt, baseball cap, cargo shorts and mandrals. We’ll be obsessing over our toddler.”

Then it added this horrifying warning: “Come alone or this blanket (and bear) goes into the washer. No gentle cycle!”

The last three words were underlined.

In their sinister fashion, the “kidnappers” failed to leave any information on their whereabouts or a contact number.

So the question still remains: do the hooligans mean business?

Bortner understands her odds, but finds some peace and solace from the fact that people are at least paying attention to Donovan’s plight, even if they are just turning the situation into playful banter.

“I’m glad that the people are seeing the posters,” Bortner said.

Seeing, perhaps, but not believing.

“Some people just didn’t get hugged enough as children,” said one man as he stared at the ransom note.

Anyone with any information about Mr. Bear is asked to call Susannah Bortner at (718) 210-6478.

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Allison Robicelli from Bay Ridge says:
Dear kidnappers:

As much as I'd love to donate 2500 gluten free cupcakes for this bears safe return, I'm afraid it's a little to rich for this mom & pop's blood.

However, if you want to meet us at a location of your choosing and bring the bear unharmed, we can bring you 3 dozen cupcakes, and will gladly name a new cupcake for you. Just don't hurt the bear!

Allison & Matt Robicelli
(we have kids, too)
June 10, 2011, 10:43 am
gchris11 from manhatten says:
really.this is news???
June 10, 2011, 11:22 am
JWP from Internet says:
gchris11 from manhatten says:
really.this is news???

No, it's
June 10, 2011, 2:25 pm
Linda from Earth says:
Yes it is news if Sheryl Crow accidentally flashing her underwear for a split second can make the news so can the cutest little boy in the world whom lost his beloved Mr Bear! Don't worry Dono karma will get them all not that you understand that yet lol
June 10, 2011, 3:15 pm
Mr. Bear from Land of Stuffed Animals says:
Dear Donovan,

It is I, your beloved Mr. Bear. Actually, my real name is Roosen the 3rd. I am the third bear that the nice lady created. She also named me Roosen before selling me to some company for national distribution.

I do not know how to say this, but since you're a small kid you probably wouldn't understand, so I wouldn't really break your heart. Here's the thing. Remember how you always hugged me tight at night? You always drooled on me kid. I know, I know. You really loved me a lot, but come on, no living thing, or for this matter, stuffed animal, would like to be a drool rug everynight! I dreaded every evening because I knew you'd be drooling all over me until morning.

It's not just the drooling part that I really didn't like. Remember when we used to play during the afternoons? You'd be throwing me up into the air repeatedly. Look kid, I'm not superman. I'm a bear, a stuffed bear! I don't have super powers (except drool absorption), and it actually hurts everytime I land on some lego or your mom's shoes.

Sometimes when other kids are nearby, you guys tend to have toy wars. Us toys are peace loving folks. Why do you kids always "play war"? No wonder this country is always at war with others. Even kids as young as you like biting off the head of some other kid's barbie doll. You make your friends cry! That's not cool kid.

And by the way, can you please do something about your constant peeing and pooping? One moment we're playing hide and seek with Mr. Bear, the other, I'm hiding under your diapers with unwanted extras. Of course your mom would throw me in the washers after that, but really, does it have to happen to me every day or two? Give me a break!

If you or your mom could read this, yes, I am finally admitting it. You didn't drop me. I actually escaped while nobody was looking, hid behind some bushes, then went to the Land of Stuffed Animals where we can live happily ever after without being drooled, peed, and pooped on.

I love you kid, it would be a lie to say I never reciprocated your feelings, but your constant stuffed animal abuse is just too much for me to bear (get it?). I hope you'll understand my departure. Maybe someday when you grow up, you'll understand that if you really love somebody, then you'll have to set them free.

Thank you for the good times, grow up to be a great kid, and I hope you find friends and a lover who wouldn't leave you, no matter how much you drool, pee, or poop.

Mr. Bear (Roosen the 3rd)
June 10, 2011, 5:55 pm
D. Tracy from Cobble Hill says:
"...a pregnant woman with a baby in a stroller. My accomplice will be wearing a T-shirt, baseball cap, cargo shorts and mandrals. We’ll be obsessing over our toddler."

This doesn't narrow down the suspect list at all.
June 10, 2011, 5:56 pm
jamie from cinci says:
Um- i raised kids- can't you trick the little guy and get a new one- happens all the time when kids lose blankies and toys
June 10, 2011, 6:23 pm
GH Waite from Bensonhurst Native says:
Buy the kid a new bear. The bear he dropped is probably in the landfill now.
June 10, 2011, 7:02 pm
Harold says:
I bet once the parents stop having a panic attack over this toy, their traumatized two year old will as well.
June 10, 2011, 7:18 pm
K from Las Vegas says:
Letter from Mr Bear AKA Roosen the 3rd...CLASSIC
June 10, 2011, 8:24 pm
JayPea from Minnesota says:
I can't believe the 2-year-old is all that traumatized unless his parents are kicking up a fuss and he is picking it up. My kids had beloved toys/blankies and if they went missing, I just told them that some times our toys need to have time off and gave them another of their toys/blankies to play or sleep with. It did work because they knew there was no alternative and that making a fuss wouldn't bring it back. They also knew that I was doing my best to find their possession but I didn't let them dominate and disrupt the whole family over it.
June 10, 2011, 8:43 pm
Grandpa from Niagara Falls says:
Quit making such a big deal out of it. Just give the child a new Lil' Bear and let him grow to like it. You wouldn't want the ol' Bear back....where has it been? You young'ins know nothing about kids. This is silly!
June 10, 2011, 9:51 pm
A lesson learned from Aesop's Fables says:
Will teach the kid some important life lessons, such as that carelessness comes with a high price.
June 10, 2011, 10:49 pm
A Dad from Chicago says:
I can't believe the heartless comments. My son too has a bear blanket and he would be devastated if it was lost. It is the one thing in the world that he had that "loved" him unconditionally. It never makes him go to bed, it is just in bed, it never makes him eat dinner, or get dressed, or anything. It is just the one thing that is always with him - no matter what - from the time he could begin to remember. In this world of rushing back and forth to day care, sitters, play-dates, and everything else, Mr Bear was the one constant in his life... and now it is gone.

Poor little fella' - and poor parents. They must feel terrible.
June 11, 2011, 12:05 am
Mrs K. from Boyertown says:
I think reading this little story in the paper is alot better than reading about all the violence going on in the world.
June 11, 2011, 12:15 am
Tim Pierce from The internet says:
Is this the same one? if not, does anyone have a better picture of the bear blanket? It might be difficult to locate the origional, but maybe an identical "cousin" bear blanket could come visit? Sort of how pet goldfish sometimes mysteriously change size and shape overnight?
June 11, 2011, 12:35 am
Susan from Maine says:
I hope Mr. Bear is found. We would still have some family trauma if Flopsy Bunny (belonging to 13 year old), Barnaby Bear (11 year old) or Pony (9 year old) went missing. The first two were gifts, but luckily Pony came from their dad and when it was clear how important Pony had become, Pony's twin was purchased and is still (unbenownst to 9 year old) traded off at every wash, with one of them living secretly above the dryer. My sister tried to replace her son's Pandy (panda bear) with Pandy 2 and her son would have nothing to do with Pandy 2, who went to his little brother. Kids can't be fooled, and while I'm sure Donovan will recover if Mr. Bear doesn't return, I admire his mom's efforts.
June 11, 2011, 1:08 am
Kathy from Cobble Hill says:
Oh, poor Mr. Bear and poor kid. Everyone needs to chill out on the life lessons. There's plenty of time for that! I'm 37 but still have a soft spot for my Raggedy Ann doll. Here's hoping Mr. Bear just took a wee sabbatical and will be home soon-safe & sound to a gentle cycle reception.
June 11, 2011, 1:39 am
Dude with a Heart from Mr. Rodger's Neighborhood! says:
Aww come on folks, don't be so heartless. This world is bad enough, full of war and death and starving children. I for one feel sorry for the kid, this is extremely sad, and I hope he finds his little bear.

It's sad that some of you are such big jerks that you can't appreciate the fact that the kid loves something and wants it back. I know if I lost ANY of my things as a kid I was heartbroken about it. I think it is a great thing that the kid loves something like this, I think when he becomes an adult, he will be more caring and loving towards people.

And I sincerely hope that no one thinks this kid will be a wuss or beaten man when he grows up just because he has a stuffed animal. I slept with a stuffed animal up until I was 17, and I'm a perfectly fine, normal adult today.

Have a heart people.

PS, is this possibly it? with a blue blanket attached&hl=en&prmd=ivns&resnum=3&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=1366&bih=575&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=10473767707461715383&sa=X&ei=nQ7zTff8D4nKgQf3wcW5Cw&ved=0CGUQ8wIwAA

I hope that Donovan's mother posts more pictures, maybe someone can find it online or something and Susannah can buy him for Donovan.
June 11, 2011, 1:47 am
Moxxzee from Virginia says:
Write story about the lost bear. The kid will will be able to buy an entire stuffed animal zoo.
June 11, 2011, 6:40 am
Mrs k rocks from Boyertown brooklyn says:
Mrs K is right on.
June 12, 2011, 5:42 pm
Bren from Rochester, IL says:
This person is posting very vulgar things
June 12, 2011, 10:45 pm
Bren from Rochester, IL says:
It was deleted, Thanks
June 12, 2011, 10:48 pm
Donovan's mom from Cobble Hill says:
Thanks for the (mostly) sweet and encouraging comments, everyone! And thanks for the links to possible Mr. Bears out there. We've scoured the internet looking for an identical Mr. Bear, and he doesn't seem to exist. But we found a reasonable facsimile, and when he arrives, we'll tell Donovan it's Mr. Bear's friend, and all will be well. I still wish we could find the real Mr. Bear, as he was near and dear to all of us, and was a gift from some very special people, but it seems like he's moved on. We will, too. The LOST posters were just our last ditch effort to do something for Donovan that might just might make a difference. I know Mr. Bear is probably long gone, but it was worth a try. If he shows up, we'll wash him and then make up stories about the adventures he had while he was away.

And here's a possible life lesson for my son, for all the posters who are so concerned about my child's life lessons: "People love you. We believe that even though you are small, you matter. And if something upsets you, we will work through it together and your feelings will be valid. I want you to be a kind and loving person, and I feel the way to make that happen is to treat you with kindness and love, and to teach you that we will do our best as your parents to value what is important to you. And yes, I will also teach you that there are consequences when you lose something, and that sometimes that thing will be gone. But I will also teach you to fight for things, and to never give up, even if we're just talking about a stuffed bear."

And by the way, no one is traumatized. No one is anxiety-ridden. Donovan quite simply and calmly asks every night, "Where's bear?" and we tell him, "Mr. Bear went away and we can't find him," and then we move on. All we did was put up posters. We didn't call the newspapers. We didn't ask for this to be a story. We were simply trying to bring back a part of our family that had become important to all of us. Please be respectful when you comment about people's parenting. You know nothing about us, and your comments are insulting and uninformed. My son is 22-months old and his life lessons are right on track. We'll take care of them, thank you, and don't need advice from anonymous online posters. Especially from people who can't spell or form a proper syntactical sentence.

Thanks again to everyone who had encouraging words. Donovan is a wonderful, fun kid and he'll be just fine without Mr. Bear. But it sure would be awesome if we found him.

June 13, 2011, 10:07 pm says:
Ask some of these "GROWN-UPS" how would they feel!? Also, did they ever have ' an imaginary friend or even just a favorite blanket for their own "SECURITY". Perhaps ever lost a puppy or dog that never returned..I betcha' their answer would be "YES" if they already knew that these are signs of a well balanced family & intelligent child!! I KNOW THAT FOR FACT!!!!
So everyone needs to Chill & let this family deal with the situation the best way that know.
Wishing the best to everyone...
Carolyn Morton
June 15, 2011, 2:41 pm
Bob from Manhattan says:
Wait, is it a stuffed bear or is it a bear-themed BLANKET?
June 15, 2011, 5:19 pm
L Miller from Michigan says:
I have full grown men having near temper-tantrums when they cannot find their favorite jerseys for game day. women throw their entire closets on the floor to find that dress they cannot go out without it. And we expect a lil guy not to wonder where his teddy is and to get over it. Well I comend this mom for doing what she did to put a smile back on her sons face.
Sept. 9, 2011, 11:06 am
Jack from Japan says:
I do not agree with your point

Jagu Dada
Oct. 3, 2011, 12:40 am
robin from arkansas says:
I just read this story and understand completely. In fact, we are going back to the hotel where our beloved stuffed horse was lost just a week ago. The hotel staff was so rude and snickered when I tried to explain the importance of the horse. The horse in question was 38 years old. It was mine and now it is my sons. Its not the object but the memories attached that mean so much. We know we left it in the room. Our mistake. But to have a hotel staff laugh in your face is just disgusting. Yes, we posted a reward (who would steal a 38 yr old stuffed animal?). And conversely, we asked that if it had been laundered to pieces or thrown away, please just admit it so we have closure. But we got nothing. We will live, yes. But sometimes human behavior disappoints and there's another " life lesson" for you naysayers. We are going this weekend to search the room for ourselves. (And yes, housekeeping was so bad, we feel it might still be there).
June 17, 2016, 11:24 am

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