Bear visits Murfreesboro

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 19, 2007

MURFREESBORO – Call it a wild bear chase.

On Monday an unwanted visitor of the fuzzy kind decided to take a morning stroll through the town with the Murfreesboro Police hot on its heels.

According to Lieutenant Joseph Burgess with the MPD, a large black bear ambled his or her way through a few neighborhoods putting citizens and law enforcement on alert.

Burgess estimated the bear weighed approximately 200-250 pounds.

Burgess said the bear was first sighted behind the Meherrin Baptist Church on Meherrin Lane in the morning by a citizen.

At first the officers had a tough time finding the wayward bear, but were helped by citizens who spotted the animal.

“We had people calling in (to the station),” he said.

The bear was next spotted by police in a vacant lot on Jay Trail.

Burgess said three to four MPD officers pursued the bear for an hour and a half trying to direct it back into a wooded area.

“We’re trying to escort it out of town,” he said.

He added North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission was available to assist if the bear needed to be captured.

The final sighting of the hairy renegade was on Holly Hill Road in a wooded area.

Burgess offered advice to those who may encounter a bear in their backyard.

“Call the police, don’t try approach the bear, don’t feed it,” he said. “We don’t want to hurt the bear and we want keep the people safe,”

As to why the animal ventured into town he or she may have been looking for the “bear” necessities.

“It could have been looking for food (or) water because it’s been so dry or maybe he got turned around,” said Burgess.

According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s web site, in 2005 more than 7,000 American Black Bears were estimated to be living in the costal areas of North Carolina.