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Man charged in Oklahoma mounted polar bear case

TULSA, Okla. – A businessman accused of illegally storing a mounted polar bear at an Oklahoma airport hangar has been charged.

The Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/2aYnD99 ) reports that 61-year-old Bryan Adair was charged Thursday with larceny of lost property, possession of an endangered species and possession of prohibited wildlife.

Game wardens confiscated the stuffed bear from the Jones Riverside Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Aug. 4 after it was discovered that Adair lacked the proper paperwork to own the polar bear. The animal was legally hunted by Bill Gilstrap in 1969 in Alaska, and then brought to Oklahoma.

The bear was stored in an airport hangar owned by Gilstrap’s brother. The polar bear display is worth an estimated $50,000.

Oklahoma state Game Warden Carlos Gomez says the bear ended up in Adair’s hangar after the brothers died. A criminal filing alleges that Adair stole and carried away the polar bear without the consent of the hunter’s wife, Nancy Gilstrap Barber.

Gomez says Adair refused to return the display unless Barber paid him $7,500 in storage fees.

The criminal filing also alleged that Adair did not make any effort to find the bear’s owner and having proof of lawful exemption to possess an endangered or threatened species.

An arrest warrant was filed for Adair on Thursday. It’s not immediately clear if he has an attorney.

Adair’s bail will be set at $7,000 once he is arrested.

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Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com