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Black bear spotted in Manchester; police warning residents to be on alert

Posted: 5:23 PM, Oct 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-02 18:37:15-04

Manchester's police department says there's a bear running around town after several people reported seeing it over the weekend. 

In the town of a little more than 4800 people, bears -- while not a rare sighting -- don't make their way around people regularly. 

"Never...we did have a steer one time walking up the road," Rick Barnstein, who lives a few doors down from where the bear was last seen, said. 

He says he hasn't seen the town's newest guest, but he has gotten wind of the black bear mulling around Manchester and Hampstead. 

"I kind of keep my eyes open, particularly at night. A lot of times I leave the garage door open -- letting it air out or whatever. So, I'm more cognizant of keeping it shut at night just in case," Barnstein said. 

It's a precaution from the police department after officers reported someone seeing the bear off Park Avenue near Brougham Court. 

"Don't put cat food out on the porch to feed the whole neighborhood's cats because you might be feeding the bear as well," Dr. Kay Wagner, a veterinarian in town, said. 

Her office is about two miles from where the bear was spotted. She hasn't seen the bear either, but knows encounters have happened before -- warning people to keep an eye out on their pets, livestock, and the animals' feed. 

In the meantime, Barnstein's bear story has yet to be written -- holding out on whether it's fact or fiction. 

"People say they've had friends or seen people on Facebook that they're friends with that have seen it. So I don't know if this is all rumor mill or if there's actually a bear running around," he said. 

Wagner says the bear, if it's still around, is probably passing through -- saying a lot of bears end up in western Maryland after they've gathered food ahead of hibernation.