Candy Bear: Black bear walks into Lake Cowichan store, steals treats & flees

Candy Bear: Black bear walks into Lake Cowichan store, steals treats & flees
A bear seen inside Tiptons Gas Bar in Lake Cowichan, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.

A gas bar owner in Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island was baffled when a black bear walked into his store and stole a bag of gummy bears before fleeing.

Jay deGoesbriand says he was drinking coffee behind the counter when “Mr. Bear” decided to “come in, have a look around and do some shopping.” The brazen theft, caught on security camera, happened around 6:30 a.m. Monday at Tiptons Gas Bar on North Shore Road.

“Got himself a little bag of candy and went out in the parking lot and ate it,” laughed Jay in an interview with CHEK News.

“He walked by the chocolate bar and candy bar rack, the chip rack, ice cream, bait fridge.”

Karen deGoesbriand, Jay’s wife, was amazed.

“I thought it was so cool. I love wildlife,” she said. “Obviously has a sweet tooth.”

Jay says the shop’s door was already open, so the candy caper “sauntered in, slowly walked around, sniffed a few things and got what he wanted” before leaving.

“Didn’t make any aggressive moves of any kind, just out for a shop.”

In an interview last week, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) said bears have an extreme sense of smell and are able to pick up a scent from a great distance.

The COS lists bear safety tips here.

It says bear sightings should be reported when the animal starts to linger or rummage and create a threat, not when travelling to get to another part of its habitat.

Encounters on the rise

So far this year, the number of calls for human and bear encounters in British Columbia has almost doubled, according to the COS. Typically in August, they receive 3,500-3,600 complaints, but this August there were around 6,000.

Len Butler, dep. chief for provincial operations, told CHEK News there are several reasons for the increase, including the weather’s impact on bears’ search for food.

“I think a lot of the areas, drought has impacted those berry crops and natural food sources, so where do the bears go? They unfortunately come into the urban areas, which always have a lot of non-natural attractants,” he said.


-with files from CHEK’s Skye Ryan, Mackenzie Read

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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