August 2 Baltimore
and Mongomery Counties, Maryland AP
Anne Arundel County's answer to Bigfoot remained elusive yesterday, one
day after four
people told police they spotted a 12-foot-tall animal near the Arundel
Mills mall construction
site in Hanover.
Although witnesses reported seeing a 15 to 20 inch footprint left by the
mysterious beast, State Department of Natural Resources officials said
this morning that only tracks the size of a human hand were found at the
Clifton Horton of DNR's Wildlife Division, who inspected the site yesterday
afternoon, said the area where he was searching--a large storm water management
pond near woods--would have been a prime place for footprints because
of the wet terrain, but he found nothing there. "This is a good place
to look for signs, such as hair or tracks," he said.
As of last night, Mr. Horton had still been unable to speak with any of
the four men who claim to have seen the animal. Mr. Horton was to meet
at the site today with police and a witness who saw the animal, said Susan
O'Brien, a spokesman for the DNR.
The three construction workers and off-duty county police officer working
security at the site reported seeing the animal about 12:30 a.m. Monday,
said Sgt. Joseph E. Jordan, county police office spokesman. Officer Nicholas
DiPietro also reported finding a 15 to 20 inch footprint, Sgt. Jordan
said. The construction workers were spending the night in a van when they
spotted the animal running away from their vehicle on two legs, Sgt. Jordan
Officer DiPietro heard the report of the animal sighting on his police
scanner and quietly approached the darkened spot where the men had seen
the creature. There, Officer DiPietro stumbled upon two inhuman-like red
eyes glaring back at him, Sgt. Jordan said. The animal did not make a
noise but only stared.
The construction workers fled to a nearby fast-food restaurant and had
to be persuaded to
return with Officer DiPietro to the site, Sgt. Jordan said. Based on the
information from the police report, Mr. Horton said the animal was probably
although not definitely a bear.
"In all likelihood, what they saw was a bear," Mr. Horton said.
He pointed out that a bear
was killed five miles away on the Baltimore Washington Parkway in June
and two other
bears were spotted in that area recently.
Severna Park resident, Al James said he and his family saw signs of bears
near the mall
site in recent months. He said he saw a "big track" in a wooded
area near his daughter's
"There are several areas where it looks as though they made a bed,"
Mr. James said.
"It's not to far from the construction site." In addition to
looking for a footprint, Mr. Horton searched for fur, droppings, or other
signs of bears.
Natural Resources Police said there have been bear sightings in Baltimore
and Montgomery Counties so far this year. County police are warning area
residents to be careful if they see any bears or other large wild animals. "We're asking anyone in the area who sees it not to approach it,
but to call the police or the DNR," said Officer Charles Ravenell,
county police spokesman.
The Capital, Staff Writer Laura Green
Credit source Tim Olson
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