By Todd Quinones
EAST WINDSOR, NJ (CBS) – At first people thought it might have been a dog, but as the animal got closer to the playground area, everyone realized it was a bear. Some people even got out their cell phones.
This black bear gave dad and Trenton police officer Lenny Aviles a bit of a scare Monday afternoon.
“I told everyone, ‘Stay here, there’s a bear.’ Of course everyone looks at me like I have three heads as I’m saying ‘bear,’” he said.
Aviles was playing soccer with his son near a community pool in the Twin Rivers development just before 4 p.m.
People in the pool saw the bear, too.
“We like locked the doors and got the kids back in [the pool area],” lifeguard Mariana Arriisueno said.
Worried about the kids in the playground, Aviles picked up a chair, lifted it over his head and got within about 50 feet as he told the kids to get behind the fence.
“I start [saying], ‘Go away bear, go away bear.’ He kind of grunted at me and I flung the chair. Then he walked away, just turned and walked away,” Aviles said.
Minutes earlier, the bear had been spotted outside a nearby 7-Eleven.
Prentice Goodson followed the bear as it roamed through the neighborhood and managed to snap a picture.
“He wasn’t scared of people at all. I wasn’t too scared of him. I was probably a good 50 yards back, so if I had to run, I could’ve, but he didn’t seem scared. It was more of a walk instead of a run,” Goodson said.
Police followed the bear into a wooded area in nearby Monroe Township.
No one was injured and there were no reports of any property damage.