Bear sightings rattle Babson Park residents

- Sgt. Bill Raebig, with the Lake Wales Police Department has seen more than a few perps in his day, but never a bear. 

"I’ve never seen a bear in my 34 years as a police officer... except for wearing shoulder pads and helmets," he said.

His first happened Wednesday morning. Raebig posted a picture on Facebook of a bear rummaging around behind the Save-A-Lot on Florida State Road 60 Wednesday morning.

"There's a lot of woods around here. There’s still a little territory they can roam," he explained.

Folks in Babson Park had a bear sighting of their own. Resident Austin Richmond told FOX 13 News he assumed bears lived nearby, but was concerned because he has three small children. 

"It is a safe neighborhood. Now you got to keep an extra eye on them with a bear roaming around," he said.

FWC estimates there are roughly 4,350 black bears in Florida and about a 100 or so in the Tampa Bay region. 

They’re driven by their stomachs and can smell food a mile away. The biggest bear-magnet tends to be garbage cans.

FWC says, if you see one, make sure you’re in a safe location, and then try making loud noises to scare it away.

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