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Auburn Restaurant Employee Has Close Encounter With Bears

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AUBURN (CBS13) — An employee at an Auburn restaurant had to use extreme measures to scare away a family of bears that were digging through garbage.

The incident didn’t happen inside the restaurant, but over in the back by the dumpsters.

“This is where she was going through the garbage,” said restaurant employee Andrew Castperite, motioning to the dumpsters.

Casperite faced a task probably not in his job description.

“She started to walk out in defense mode…and that’s when I had to tell people to get the heck back,” he said.

Customers gathered around at the Auburn Ikeda’s in awe of this massive black bear and her two cubs rummaging through the trash. But as the bear inched closer, Casperite knew he had to step in.

“My first initial response was to grab one of these (holding a water bottle) and start banging it, because that’s how to scared them off, but apparently she was very used to humans, because she was not frightened by that at all,” he said.

The bear was stubborn, and there are many more like it.

“A bear this size could cause a lot of damage very quickly,” said California Fish & Game Warden Patrick Foy.

Foy says California black bear sightings are becoming more common as wet winters and springs in recent years have caused a population boom.

“The areas where the bears are on the fringe of human development, these bears tend to gravitate toward those areas because they find easy sources of food,” said Foy.

But in the process of scavenging for these easy meals, the bears pose a danger to humans.

“I decided to jump in my car and kind of drive very fast at her honking the horn and that scared her off,” said Casperite.

No one was injured in the incident, but from now on, employees are likely to mind the sign on the dumpster enclosure reminding them to keep the trash closed.

“We’re going to have to take a lot more precautions,” said Casperite.

Game officials say you should never approach a bear cub. They can still be vicious, and their mother is likely close by.

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