Police respond to a bear sighting at a California mall
A bear wandering near a Paso Robles shopping center on Thursday morning prompted a big response from police and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as they attempted to corral the animal away from the heavily visited area.
The bear was first seen mid-morning in the area of the Target and Outdoor Supply Hardware store parking lot off Theatre Drive.
By noon, officers with the Paso Robles Police Department and CDFW representatives were on scene attempting to get the bear out of a tree in the parking lot.
Initial attempts to shoot a pepper ball above the bear to try to get it to come down out of the tree were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile about a dozen spectators gathered at the edge of the parking lot area police blocked off to watch the scene unfold.
“I want to pet it,” one person said. “I want to cook it,” another replied.
Access from the northern part of Theatre Drive was temporarily blocked off and traffic diverted behind the shopping center while authorities were on scene.
The bear was finally captured around 1:20 p.m. after it appeared to have been shot with a tranquilizer dart; a few minutes later it fell out of the tree and was caught in a tarp being held by on-scene personnel.
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Caitlin Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. A Nipam native, she also covers city government and events in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from UCLA with a journalism degree.
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