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Matt Cory, Forum Communications, Published September 06 2012

‘Kidnapping’ leaves UND professor, students stunned... and laughing

GRAND FORKS - A University of North Dakota professor’s teaching assistant was kidnapped from class Wednesday, and while no laughing matter, she can’t help but smile about it.

Dorothy Keyser’s faithful helper, Bumble the Bear, was snatched about 10 minutes into her 10 a.m. Introduction to Music class in a lecture bowl at Hughes Fine Arts Center on campus.

Bumble is a stuffed, golden bear, about the size of a 5-year-old child that has sat in the front of her class for more than 10 years, Keyser said.

Bumble is there to take up the seat below where the overhead projector sits, she said. If a student sits there, more than likely, their noggin will show up on the overhead screen, she said.

As Keyser was just getting into her lecture, a young man came “bounding” down the aisle stairs, snatched Bumble from his spot and took off out of the room.

Keyser’s other teaching assistant — not a bear — followed the man out into the hallway. But this was no simple snatch-and-grab case; this bearnapping was planned with precision. The young man raced out of Hughes and jumped into the passenger’s side of an idling getaway car, which then sped out of the parking lot, the TA reported.

Keyser and her 180 or so students were more stunned than anything…. then the laughter started.

“I do want the bear back, but the truth is, it is very funny,” she said. “The students, I couldn’t get their attention, everyone was laughing.”

Keyser does admit “it is the kind of thing one should probably not encourage.”

Tongue firmly in cheek, Keyser reported the theft to UND police. The responding officer had a tough time keeping a straight face, too, she said, but, in reality, it is a crime.

Keyser figures it’s simply a student prank, and others have told her they wouldn’t be surprised if Bumble shows up on a float in Saturday’s Potato Bowl Parade.

Here are the police blotter particulars:

• The bearnapper was a young man with dark hair, about 5 foot 9 inches or so, wearing a black shirt, green shorts and a hat. It all happened so quick, Keyser said, she didn’t get a real good look.

• The “getaway” car was described only as a black “sporty” vehicle.

• Bumble is golden in color, about 2 or 3 feet tall, and wearing a UND hoodie.

As of Wednesday evening, no ransom demand had been made, Keyser said.

If anyone spots Bumble, Keyser said they can call her at the UND Music Department at (701) 777-2644.