Bear encounters seem to be on the rise in New Jersey after three separate incidents that have officials scratching their heads. The first two occurred recently in Kinnelon, where homeowners say that bears have raided patio fridges in order to steal their contents, like beer and even hot sauce. The third took place over the weekend in Plainfield when a bear wandered into a yard sale.
“We’ve gotten used to it but we respect them as they respect [us], you know they come in and they’re looking for food and then they go away,” homeowner Joann Tirico told CBS New York.
Tirico captured footage of a black bear running up to her house and opening a patio fridge. Instead of grabbing something more palatable to a bear’s diet, it decided to swipe a bottle of hot sauce. The same bear is suspected of sneaking onto another Kinnelon resident’s property and biting into several cans of what appeared to be pop or beer—perhaps proving that bears have a low tolerance for hot sauce.
You can see a video of the hot sauce theft below:
What is believed to be the same bear drinking some cold beverages:
Plainfield residents also received a scare when a separate black bear decided to wander into town on Sunday. In that case, however, police were called to the scene and decided to put the animal down.
“It is unfortunate, but we had to terminate the bear,” Lt. Wayne Williams told MyCentralJersey.com.
According to officers, the bear appeared at a yard sale on Sunday morning and was seen running down the street a short time later. Believing the bear to be a danger to the public, officers warned residents to stay inside their homes and eventually tracked the animal down near the 700 block of South Avenue. There, authorities fatally shot the bear.
Black bears are not especially rare in New Jersey but experts say they usually shy away from humans. The animals have been a concern for state residents since a fatal predatory attack in 2014, which led to the death of 22-year-old college student Darsh Patel. At the time, wildlife officials confirmed it as the first fatal bear attack in New Jersey’s history.