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Black bear surprises customers, strolls into B.C. liquor store

So this bear walked into a liquor store...
Photo: Last Call Liquor Store

It was a regular Monday evening in Revelstoke at Last Call Liquor Store, until a bear strolled in for a look around. 

The shop has been keeping its door open to avoid customers touching handles during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I was serving a customer from Italy, we were having a chat at the counter, and the bear strolled right in about five feet away from the customer," says owner Claudio Brunetti.

The customer was shocked, he had never seen a bear so close and casually – but Brunetti was nonchalant about it. "I grew up here, so I wasn't surprised," he explains. "Although, I've never seen one strolling through a store."

Brunetti estimates the black bear was about four years old and weighed about 300 pounds.

Based on his experience, Brunetti knew he had to get the bear's attention as soon as possible before it lost sight of the exit.

"I asked him for ID," he laughs, "Kidding. I just started calling out to him to get his attention. He immediately turned around and walked right out. I later saw him climbing up a tree across the street."

The Last Call Liquor Store doesn't carry any food other than a few bags of potato chips, so perhaps the bear had a rough week and needed a glass of wine.  

Revelstoke Bear Aware community co-ordinator, Maggie Spizzirri says most likely the bear will be put down. 

"When a bear becomes more aggressive and is less afraid of people and does something like walk into a store, at that point they're too far along the path of being habituated that they become dangerous to the citizens of the town. At that point, it becomes a human safety issue and the bear will end up getting killed by conservation officers because of that."

According to Bear Aware, there is a healthy population of bears in the area. 

Spizzirri says conservation officers are currently assessing the situation.  

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