Bear's sweet tooth: Uninvited visitor robs candy at Vancouver Island gas bar

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Jay and Karen deGoesbriand, owners of the Tipton Gas Bar in Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island, cater to a diverse clientele daily, but an uninvited guest added a unique twist to their business when a black bear strolled in. The bear's whimsical visit was captured by security camera footage, leaving a trail of amusement and disbelief in its wake.

Brazen Candy Robbery: The unexpected customer made its appearance at the gas bar at approximately 6:30 a.m. on Monday. Security footage showed the bear casually sauntering in, heading straight for the racks of chocolate bars, and then, in a swift and daring act, snatching a 70-cent pack of gummy bears in its jaws. The bear then made a swift exit, sans any intentions of payment.

"Mr. Bear then went out in the parking lot and ate it," shared Jay, who was enjoying his morning coffee behind the counter during this unusual candy caper. The bear exhibited no signs of aggression during its visit, but the audacious theft left quite an impression on the deGoesbriand duo.

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The Bear's Sweet Tooth
: Karen expressed her amusement, stating, "I thought it was so cool. Obviously, has a sweet tooth." This incident at Lake Cowichan stands as just one example of the increasing number of bear encounters in British Columbia.

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Rising Bear-Related Complaints in B.C.: The British Columbia Conservation Officer Service (COS) reported a notable rise in bear-related complaints this year, with a predominant focus on encounters with black bears. In August alone, the COS received a staggering 5,963 calls regarding black bears, nearly double the previous record of 2,366 calls in 2011.

Len Butler, deputy chief for provincial operations, explained that several factors contribute to this increase. Drought conditions have affected berry crops and natural food sources for bears, pushing them to seek nourishment in urban areas with readily available, non-natural attractants.

Public Safety Concerns: The COS emphasized the importance of reporting bear sightings as bears accustomed to human food and unafraid of people pose a significant risk to public safety. Such bears, once they reach this point, cannot be rehabilitated or relocated, making their presence a considerable danger to the community.

The candy caper at the Tipton Gas Bar stands as a humorous yet cautionary tale amid the growing instances of bear encounters across the province, highlighting the need for vigilance and responsible reporting when it comes to these wildlife interactions.

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