Pohatcong resident’s bear encounter claim under question; officials still investigating

A Warren County man's claim that he suffered minor injuries during a run-in with a bear is now being questioned.

Pohatcong Mayor James Kern says that the man told police that he walked out of his home on the 300 block of Route 627 at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to feed a cat. That's when he supposedly encountered the 400- to 500-pound bear.

"The victim said the bear was startled and reacted by swiping his paw at the victim," Pohatcong police posted on the department's Facebook page.

The man suffered some cuts to his arm and was taken to the hospital.

The state Department of Environmental Protection rushed to the scene to investigate, but as the day wore on, doubt arose about the man's claims.

"We're trying to verify the injuries to the story that he told us," Chief Jeffrey Greenemeir says.

By Wednesday afternoon police had still not be able official confirm the bear encounter. Meanwhile, rumors about the incident started to fly among neighbors.

"From a bear attack to an accident, I guess with a weed whacker or some sort of lawn mower," says neighbor Michael Guglielmo.

Mayor Kern says that the town will continue to investigate the claim.

Police won't be able to speak with the homeowner at least until Thursday. They say that while his minor injuries were treated, he is being held in the hospital for "other reasons."

The DEP left Pohatcong without trapping any animals.

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