Fearful police try to rouse bear- and it turns out to be the toy store variety

ADAMS, Mass. - The black bear appeared to be deep in a slumber in Margaret Lowry's garden. Even a blast of a police cruiser siren and a special noisemaking device didn't rouse it.

Finally, a poke confirmed the reason for the critter's sound sleep: It was a teddy bear.

Lowry, concerned because of recent sightings of bears in her Berkshire Hills town, had called police early Tuesday to report the bear in her back yard.

Two police officers tried to wake the 4-foot-long bear by sounding their cruiser's siren, but it didn't stir. An environmental police officer, called for backup, tried to get it moving with a device that sounds like a firecracker. Still, nothing.

Finally, an officer gave the bear a poke with a long prod, and that's when they discovered it was stuffed.

Dispatcher Gregory Charon says police had no reason to suspect the creature wasn't real.

''Based on what's been happening this summer, it wasn't something the officers wanted to get close to without knowing,'' Charon said.

Police didn't know who put the bear in the garden. ''It must have been some type of prank,'' said dispatcher Tony Piscioneri.

Police are keeping the bear - uncaged - at the station.

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