Black bear captured in Petersburg neighborhood

Published: May. 19, 2009 at 8:09 PM EDT|Updated: May. 20, 2009 at 3:10 AM EDT
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By Tara Morgan - bio | email

PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Some dramatic moments in a Petersburg neighborhood as authorities bring down a black bear from a tree.

Virginia game officials took the bear away from the city to a secluded wildlife location. Authorities don't know if it's the same bear spotted in nearby Ettrick in Chesterfield county last week. Back in the Petersburg neighborhood, residents will likely talk about what they witnessed for a long time.

It was a sight high above that drew crowds to the curbs.

"It was kind of weird cause I'm not used to seeing a bear around the neighborhood," said Zach Stamos, a young boy who watched the dramatic events unfold.

Moments before settling in one tree Tuesday, the once elusive black bear spooked Sonia Smith.

"I just ran as quick as I can I said lord the bear is right here in the yard the bear is right here in the yard," said Smith.

"I could see it in the tree it ain't nothing but a cub," said Michael Rathbone, another boy who lives in the neighborhood.

It's actually a 130 pound juvenile bear. It was first spotted in the late morning on nearby Commerce street. Then later tracked to Jean Stamos' magnolia tree on North West street.

Authorities hoped the lure of jelly donuts strategically placed inside a cage would end the spectacle.

"They brought the tank and put it in the yard and as they were clearing the bear came down the tree and hauled butt," said Stamos.

To another tree on West High street where he sat for nearly three hours. Police cleared the street before game officials tranquilized the bear.

"He actually climbed down the tree," said Bill Powers with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

But the bear hopped two wooden fences before collapsing in a drugged stupor.

"I'm glad they got him," said Smith.

The sleeping bear was carried in a blue tarp to his waiting ride for a trip back where he belongs.

"They seldom get into a neighborhood like this and cause a problem but this problem worked out good," said Powers.

Again, the bear was released in a secluded wildlife area managed by the state. Powers say this is the first time he can remember capturing a bear inside Petersburg city limits.

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