GALENA, Ohio (WCMH) — Genoa Township police followed up Sunday evening on a warning to residents to keep their car doors locked, saying the incident prompting it never happened.
Earlier the same day, the Genoa Township Police Department posted photos of a damaged vehicle and a bear they said was involved.
While it’s unlikely a bear would go after a left-behind wallet, Genoa Township police wanted to use the incident to remind people how to reduce the chances of a car break-in.
“We always advise everyone to lock their doors on their vehicles and keep valuables out of their cars,” the department’s now-deleted Facebook post read. “These folks in Newark left their car unlocked and woke up to a beary interesting surprise! Keep your vehicles locked and your valuables in the house you never know who or what might show up!”
In the deleted post’s place was a retraction. GTPD Deputy Chief Russel Ciballi explained why the department took the photos of the car and the bear down.
“My post from earlier about the bear has been confirmed as untrue … My reasoning for the post was just a reminder to keep your doors locked at night to help reduce the chance of criminal activity,” Ciballi wrote. “There was no ill intent.”
Genoa Township police did not provide any information on where the photos of the bear or the mauled car came from. The department also received mixed comments on their updated post. Some said they appreciated the safety reminder or took the post as a joke. Others responded that they believed the bear attack happened.
One commenter, Lauren Hancock, said the police department didn’t lie but did fall for something others on social media believed as well.
“It’s been circulating as a scam post,” Hancock wrote. “Many people everywhere think it is real.”
NBC4 found similar Facebook posts that used the exact same pictures as Genoa Township police. An Illinois business called Insurance King also shared the bear mauling photos on its page, but did not say where the incident took place. In a report by WGRD 97.9, the radio station said it saw posts claiming that the same photos came from a bear attack in Michigan.