Old Forge business recovering from 'bear' damage

OLD FORGE, N.Y. (WKTV) - Larry Starer has owned the Candy Cottage candy shop in Old Forge for 17 years and this past week was a first for him.

He thought someone may have tried to break in the night of Tuesday, July 24, but the following night, the intruder came back, and it was a black bear.

Starer says he wasn't too surprised to see the bear, especially this year. "With the drought conditions in the woods, there's no food for them to eat so they come into town looking for food, and unfortunately they ripped apart the side of my building trying to get in, and they almost made entry."

Starer has pictures that show that extensive damage to a portion of the siding and window on the side of the building. He says the bear may have been attracted to his candy. "The aroma of the candy and we now have a mini doughnut making machine, maybe that contributed to it."

Once you enter Old Forge, there's a flashing sign up by the state that says do not feed the bear or deer, but Starer says many guests don't always adhere and feed them to lure them closer so they can get a better look. "It may look fun for the kids to see, but it's actually very dangerous, because the bears are opportunists, creatures of habit, and they're liable to repeat. When they see a bear, they toss it marshmallows and cones and crackers and cookies, thinking it's ok to do so, but it is against the law to feed the bear and the deer in the area and this is the resulting aftermath."

Starer says once the damage is repaired, he is having a deterrent installed. He says, "we're actually going to run wire all the way around the building, electrified, so that at night when we close up, it'll be deter and keep any further bears out of the store."

At least he hopes that will deter them.

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