A man was arrested yesterday in Corona del Mar not long after he and three others were stopped by police at gunpoint for allegedly stealing a large stuffed bee from outside the HAPPY Place store on Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.
The HAPPY Place shop is an offshoot of the Don’t Worry Be Happy Foundation, which sells t-shirts and donates the proceeds to help cancer patients pay their bills. Laguna Beach Patch last month.
“A bunch of guys pulled up in a car, and one of them was attempting to take our bee,” said Mina Buc, who co-founded the Don’t Worry Be Happy Foundation with her husband Jim. “It’s kind of big, so I ran out the door to stop him. He shoved me out of the car.”
The car sped away with the bee, but Buc got the license plate number and called 911.
“The bee is our mascot, and it means a lot to us. It’s like stealing one of our kids," Buc tells Patch.
Newport Beach Police observed a car matching the description and pulled it over in the parking lot of a Baja Fresh in Corona del Mar. The four occupants—three men and one woman—were detained at gunpoint by officers, and one of the suspects, Sebastian Montes, a 21-year-old resident of Henderson, Nevada (all the occupants were from the Las Vegas area), was arrested for petty theft.
The bee was in the backseat and returned to Buc. Today, Thursday, it was back in its usual perch outside the store, with a sign made by Buc’s granddaughter thanking the police for retrieving the bee.
Montes apparently filmed the theft as he committed it. The video was seized and is being held as evidence.
“I think they were kids who thought it was funny, but it wasn’t funny," Buc tells Patch.