Search for bear reportedly seen in Kearny Mesa near sheriff's dept. building called off

SAN DIEGO - Authorities have called off their search for a bear that was reportedly seen near the San Diego County Sheriff's Department building in Kearny Mesa.

According to San Diego police, a city Environmental Services worker having lunch in a building near the sheriff's building in the 9600 block of Ridgehaven Court reported seeing what she believed to be a bear on the hillside near the building just before noon.

San Diego police sent units to a hillside below the sheriff's department building, which is surrounded by other county offices, to search for the animal. Ridgehaven Court is located on a ridge, with businesses and the San Diego Chargers training facility located below.

"I thought, 'My gosh, it's so big,'" said Judy Armstrong, who spotted the bear. "It's a large animal to be so big down there. It didn't have a tail, no stripings, no markings on it, just solid brown."

Armstrong said she was eating lunch near an office window and looking out at the canyon when she spotted it. She was not the only one.

"I was explaining it to one of the other gentlemen who was walking into the room and he was from Idaho," said Armstrong. "He said he was from bear country. We were both looking out the window and he saw it and I saw it again a second time. He jumped up and said, 'It's a bear.'"

While she said it may have been brown in color, the state Department of Fish and Game said the bear is most likely a black bear. Brown bears are only found in Alaska.

Richard Burg, who is with the Department of Fish and Game, told 10News how the bear may have gotten there.

"My guess if it was… probably two ways," he said. "Once he came from East County, he probably followed the San Diego River down… a lot of cover, a lot of thickets and then from there, he either kept under the river and there's a little drainage that runs up on this side of Qualcomm on up, so he may have came up through the canyons, or he may have gotten off of Mission Trails Park and from there gone over to Miramar and made his way over this way."

Just after 5:30 p.m., the search was called off after no trace of the bear was found.

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