Bear cub jolts coffee crowd | AspenTimes.com

Bear cub jolts coffee crowd

Joel Stonington

Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times

A bear cub did more than window shopping Wednesday afternoon when it ran into the Thrift Shop through the back door and climbed up onto a clothes rack before alarming a crowd of onlookers at a cafe next door. Aspen police already had roped off the back side of City Hall, where the mother bear was with another cub, when the second cub rambled across the street.

Melissa Clare, a community safety officer, said she went into the secondhand store, next to the fire station on Hopkins Avenue, to try to get the bear out and back to its mother. “When I went in, he was throwing a trash bin around,” Clare said. But after climbing around inside the store for a bit, the cub ran out the back door of the Thrift Shop, took a right and ran directly into the patio area of Zélé Cafe, spooking a crowd. Some people scrambled and frightened the cub, Clare said. The baby bruin then climbed up a tree in the tiny park between the Thrift Shop and the fire station.

Police roped off the area where the cub was and people quickly gathered, taking photos and watching the bear in the tree. “We just need to give him space and let him do his thing,” Clare said. “He’ll eventually come down and wander back to his mom.”And that’s exactly what the confused cub did around 4:30 p.m. when it ran back across the street and up the tree with it sibling and mom behind City Hall. Last month, the same family apparently was up a tree in Conner Park behind City Hall, which caused that area to be roped off for the afternoon. Last week, the mom and kids were eating the crab apples in front of the courthouse, which again prompted police to rope off the area.

“These ones have been seen quite often in downtown,” Clare said. Unfortunately, not all bear issues are resolved as easily as the one today. Aspen police Wednesday picked up cub that was apparently abandoned and took the bear to Silt.”We’ve had tons of wildlife calls going on,” said Sgt. John Rushing.Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com