WICKER PARK — A big teddy bear that spent some difficult days next to a Dumpster in a Wicker Park alley has been reclaimed by his owners, who say they were unaware that the stuffed animal, which had long served as a mascot for their weekly dance parties, had been trashed — literally.
"The bear Aka Rupert has been rescued and is now safe at the dry cleaners! It was a sad day seeing him out on the streets," Jonathan Reno said Wednesday, just one day before an impending weekly trash pick-up could have made matters worse for the bear.
After word spread that a very large teddy bear was discarded next to a Dumpster — prompting lots of sympathy and theories as to the bear's back story — Reno recognized the bear and reached out to a friend who pulled the inanimate creature from its dismal environs.
A worker at Crocodile Lounge, 1540 N. Milwaukee Ave., allegedly threw the bear out because he had been upset that the weekly DJ dance party, Trap House, had switched its location from Crocodile to River North's Sound-Bar after a 4-year run, according to Reno.
Trap House, which started in 2012, originally used a different stuffed bear as its mascot for its first three years, but after that bear was stolen, the most recent bear, known as "Rupert," named after the bear from "Family Guy," was given to Trap Door DJ George Rizzio by Reno last February.
"We wondered [about the bear] but when we left [Crocodile] for another venue, the owner [of Crocodile] wasn't happy about it and I think that's why he tossed it," said Rizzio.
A representative from Crocodile did not respond to a request for comment about whether the bear, which Reno claimed had been left in the bar's basement, was intentionally discarded. Rizzio claims that he tried to get the bear back prior to Saturday when it was believed to have been thrown out, but each time he attempted to recover the bear the bar was closed.
"Remember the Trap Bear that all the girls humped for the past four years?! Well, when we left Crocodile someone that worked there threw him away and an article was written about him lmao," Trap House announced on its Facebook page on Wednesday.
This Tuesday, the Trap House party heads to its new spot in the basement of Sound-Bar, a space that it moved to in mid-December, it was reported earlier this month.
The bear, which was wet from a day or two of rain and suffered dirt to its paw pads, was transported by Rizzio to Greenspin Cleaners in Lincoln Park. Rizzio is paying $175 to get the bear fully cleaned.
"He'll be prepped and pretty by Tuesday," Rizzio said.
Karina Encarnacion, a worker at Lincoln Park's Greenspin Cleaners said on Thursday that the bear was wet and dirty when he was brought in.
"It's the largest stuffed animal we've ever cleaned. It's a cute bear, I was like, 'what happened to it?" Encarnacion said.
Looks like Teddy had another rough night at the bars. #wickerpark . . . #chitecture #igerschicago #artofchi #architecture #chicago #FlippinChi #chiarchitecture #mychicagopix #chicagoprimeshots #chicagojpg #way2ill #transfer_visions #artofvisuals #moodygrams #illgrammers #visualsoflife #fujifilm #x100t #teddybear #chicagophotographer #streetphotographers #street_photo_club #drunkbear #ctablueline #dnainfo #streetmobs #everybodystreet #street_photo_club #streetlife_award #urbanandstreet
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