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Stolen teddy bear found, returned by neighbor

A light-up teddy bear that was stolen from the front yard of a Sonora-area home about a week ago has been found.

On Friday night, a neighbor returned the Christmas decoration to the Valdes family, after finding it in the back of his pickup truck.


Neighbors had been searching the area around the home on the 21900 block of Russian River Drive in Crystal Falls in hopes of finding the adornment, which belongs to 4-year-old Nicholas Valdes.

“The response was just the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen,” said Sally Valdes, the boy’s grandmother.

She had given the bear to her grandson when he was born.

The boy’s parents realized the foot-tall bear, which sits atop a rocking horse, was missing on the morning of Dec. 2. 

His father, Dan Valdes, notified the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office about 8:40 a.m. 

He said he turned off all the holiday lights during the weekend rainstorm and believed the Grinch struck during that time.

“It’s a heartwarming story, particularly because the bear is back,” Sally Valdes said Monday. “It’s just touched so many people this year.”

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