Bear spotted roaming in Bessemer City, officials say

BESSEMER CITY, N.C. — Several people reported seeing a bear in Bessemer City Thursday morning, according to officials.

The bear was found roaming the 600 block of East Florida Avenue. Some residents believe the bear was attracted to the residential area because it is the day for trash pick up.

Sonny Costner was sitting outside his home when he said the bear suddenly appeared in his yard.

“Walked right up about 10 to 12 feet from us, and that’s when we said, ‘Hey bear,’ and he turned and went between the houses,” Costner said.

Gina Horn spotted it in her back yard.

Horn showed a photo she took and the markings on a tree nearby possibly made by the bear.

“I thought it was a dog at first, but it was too big to be a dog,” Horn said. “But he was definitely not afraid of me. Made eye contact and lumbered along.”

Some residents speculate that there could be more bears around.

“It was a big bear so I would say there’s probably more around here. I would say,” resident Tammy Love said.

Officials said they have seen an increase in reported sightings this year.

They believe the bear population is increasing in western North Carolina and those bears are venturing further out.

The Bessemer City Police Department is currently working with North Carolina Wildlife officials to ensure everyone’s safety.

There were extra police patrols in the neighborhood Thursday where the bear was spotted.

Residents are asked to stay away from the bear and report any additional sightings to the Bessemer City Police Department by calling 704-629-2235. For more information about black bears, click here.

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