Officials: Black bear sightings reported around Union County

UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Several Union County residents have reported seeing a black bear around the county Saturday and Sunday, police said.

The Waxhaw Police Department first reported about a bear sighting just after 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the Cureton area.

On Sunday afternoon, the Waxhaw Police Department tweeted that their most recent sighting of the bear was near Highway 84 and Airport Road in Monroe.

Officers told WBTV they've also had reports of bear sightings near Wesley Chapel. Union County Emergency Communications said they've received several 9-1-1 calls from residents spotting the bear.

Stacy Watkins said that the same reported bear knocked over his garbage can and dragged a trash bag "like a sack lunch" overnight.

Watkins showed WBTV his surveillance video showing the bear, and said he has never seen anything like this in his ten years living in Union County.

"No, never. I've maybe seen a coyote, lots of wildlife, but I've never seen a bear. It's kind of like a bigfoot sighting to me," Watkins said.

A Union County Sheriff's Office official said they received three calls for bear sightings on Sunday, including one near the Target in Wesley Chapel.

A Waxhaw Police official said they received around five calls since Saturday. That official also said they received several calls from neighbors who saw social media posts about the bear, and asked what police were doing about this. Waxhaw Police told WBTV neighbors should only call if it's an emergency.

Pam Helms lives near one of the locations where the bear was seen. She didn't see the bear, and told WBTV she would like to keep it that way.

"Scary, very scary. I don't want to see it," Helms said. "We've got woods all here behind us, so anything is possible. I got two dogs, so they will be on leashes."

Watkins said after seeing his surveillance footage, he is going to be more cautious when leaving his home.

"My kids wanted to go out and play today, and normally no problem. But today, I was a little hesitant," Watkins said.

Officers are asking the public to stay away from the bear and to report sightings to police. Officials have not said whether it was one bear or multiple bears.

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