A dead bear showed up Sunday night outside a San Leandro market on Foothill Boulevard and Carolyn Street. It had been shot in the head. Now authorities are trying to figure out who dumped the bear and why they did it.
It was lying on the sidewalk in front of a liquor store, a deli, and a taco shop that were all open at the time, but no one saw who dropped it off.
When the owner of El Taco, Mario Clamar, first saw it he didn't believe it.
"When we pulled into the parking lot, we were like, 'Oh look, someone's passed out drunk' and my son's all, 'No it's a dog,' and then we got close and we're like, 'No it's a bear!' and he's all, 'It's a stuffed animal,' and I'm all, 'No, it's a bear. Look at it,'" said Clamar.
It was hard to believe because it was in a busy strip mall and all of the stores were open.
"It feels really weird, honestly, knowing that someone would just drop a dead bear off and not tell anyone," said Terrace Market worker Ethan Carter.
Witnesses say the animal was dead and had a gunshot wound to the shoulder. The bear was discovered at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. One witness told store workers he saw a pickup truck driving away.
"Why here of all places in the world? Yeah I have no idea. Maybe they live locally by or something and just wanted to dump it before they go home," said Clamar.
The news had curious customers asking about the incident and crowding around the bear's picture.
"I was shocked. I mean I was shocked there are bears actually here in this neighborhood, so and then to see a dead bear here? Wow, that's sad, and for someone to shoot it is even worse," said customer Marcus Pakeman.
A Department of Fish and Game spokesman said black bears do not live in the East Bay. It is black bear hunting season, but authorities don't think a licensed hunter would dump a 300-pound bear on a public sidewalk.
"Why didn't they take it to the butcher shop and eat the thing? We used to hunt bear, and we'd have bear burgers, bear sausage, bear steak, but just to kill the thing and leave it on the sidewalk is kind of a waste, kind of inhumane," said Clamar.
It is illegal to waste game and it is a misdemeanor, which is the obvious first violation that officials will look at. However, they also want to know if the person who killed it was licensed to hunt and kill bears and why they killed it.
A spokeswoman for East Bay Regional Parks says black bears do not live in San Leandro. The closest black bears are probably in Mendocino County.