Lebanon police Chief Mike Justice confirmed the investigation late Saturday night.
“On the subject of the bear cam, we were able to identify the booth that the bear came from,” said Lebanon police spokesperson P.J. Hardy. “The operator of the booth stated that he buys these stuffed animals in bulk from a company out of Georgia. He also stated that the company is a bulk discount facility. As far as the bear in question, it had a lens and a board but was not functional. It had no power source. It is our belief that this toy may have been a returned or damaged item and was packaged for discount resale, as discount retailers often do – kind of of like the business model of a Bargain Hunt discount store. This toy bear may have been a nanny cam that was returned. No other bears of this nature were found at the booth. No illegal activity is suspected at this time.”
Katie Benson, of Lebanon, made a post in the Main Hip Lebanon group on Facebook on Saturday at about 11:20 p.m. about the apparent incident, which garnered nearly 100 shares and several comments, but the post was deleted about 20 minutes later.
According to the post, Benson said her sister-in-law found a small camera in a stuffed bear won for Benson’s young niece. Benson warned other parents to check any stuffed animals won at the fair for cameras before the post was deleted for unknown reasons.
Cheryl Lewis, an admin for Main Hip Lebanon, said she was initially unaware of the post until someone text her a screenshot of it, and Benson apparently deleted it at detectives’ request due to the investigation.
Reithoffer Shows was the first-year carnival provider for the Wilson County Fair. Saturday was the last day of the fair.
This is a developing story. Check lebanondemocrat.com for updates.