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Residents in one Florida community concerned after multiple bear sightings

Posted at 10:26 AM, Apr 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-10 12:55:57-04

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. -- You probably don’t want to see certain animals lurking around in your yard, right? Well in Lehigh Acres, a bear paid a visit to several yards and driveways. Video surveillance shows a bear roaming the streets of 13th Street SW in Lehigh Acres on Sunday.

Neighbors say it’s definitely not common for bears to come around that area, but in the past few days, there have been multiple sightings. Leslie Verbist says she was surprised to see bears in her neighborhood.

"I really couldn’t believe it, I was like is that a big dog," Verbist said.

Verbist says she woke up to a text from a friend saying there’s a bear in the are, she explains she didn't think anything of it, but the next day, that changed.

"I woke up first thing in the morning and my trash was everywhere," she said. The bear was pretty hungry too, it took a few tortillas from the garbage and ate some Spanish rice.

Another neighbor, Percy Williams, a retired officer says he saw a bigger bear a few days prior.

"He’s sitting there and he’s looking at me, and this thing is over 600 pounds and when he stood up, he’s over 7 foot tall and I’m like, 'that ain’t no bear,' Williams said."

Verbist explains the bears haven’t hurt anyone, but she’s worried that could happen with kids and small pets in the area.

"My son who’s autistic, his bus is right there, and the other kids walk around with a flashlight," Verbist said.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife, during the spring, you're likely to see bears roaming around, especially in your trash. FWC says if you see a bear, make sure you’re in a safe area, make sure the bear has an escape route, and then scare that bear, by making loud noises.

Neighbors say they have seen FWC patrolling the area, searching for the bear.

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