By Emily Heil
It’s well-known, at least among those of us who grew up reading and watching Winnie the Pooh, that bears have a serious sweet tooth. Further confirming this fact was a large black bear that lumbered its way into a bakery in Connecticut last week and munched on dozens of sugary cupcakes and coconut cake before workers were able to chase him off.
The dramatic scene – from which everything except the baked goods emerged unharmed – began May 24 when a worker was loading a delivery van in a garage behind the Taste by Spellbound bakery in the town of Avon.
“All the sudden we hear her screaming bloody murder and then yelling ‘There’s a bear in garage!'” recounted bakery owner Miriam Hope Stephens, in an Instagram post.
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The employee, Maureen Williams, told local TV station WTNH that the bear returned three times, at one point coming toward at her in what animal experts call a “bluff charge.” She retreated, and the bear came inside and helped itself to a large box of cupcakes, which it dragged behind the garage and began to consume, according to security footage the local news obtained from a nearby business.
The bear was deterred only when another bakery worker got in her car and drove around back to scare the marauder away.
“The bear destroyed 60 cupcakes (and) a bunch of coconut cake,” Stephens wrote, expressing gratitude that no one was injured. “They are more scared of us than us of them. We all have had a good laugh about it at this point and think the bears are cute,” she wrote.
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The bakery even had a bit of fun with the brush with wildlife. On Saturday, the bakery featured on its Instagram page special cupcakes topped with Graham-cracker cookies in the shape of a bear.
Local wildlife authorities say the story had a good ending, too – or so they hope. Paul Copelman, a spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, told The Washington Post that the bear was caught (using a trap loaded with baked goods) either Friday night or Saturday morning and subsequently was “hazed and released.”
“Hazing” is a method where captors make loud noises and otherwise make a bear feel uncomfortable, he said. “The idea is that you want to create a negative association with a particular location,” Copelman said. The state’s bear population is growing, he noted, even in densely populated areas, meaning that authorities are campaigning to make residents “bear aware.”
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“Our message is that bear habitat is everywhere in Connecticut,” he said. “What we want is for people to be safe and bears to be safe.”
The bakery’s cupcakes seem to hold a special enticement for the local bear population. Last year, there were news reports about a 2-year-old’s birthday in West Hartford, Connecticut, being crashed by a bear who chowed down on the festive spread. It turns out, the cupcakes at the party were also from Taste by Spellbound, Laura Majidian, the mom of the birthday boy, confirmed.
She said she had picked up the vanilla and chocolate confections from the West Hartford location – and she noticed that the uninvited guest appeared most attracted to the caramel topping. “That seemed to be his favourite,” she said.
The Washington Post