Lake Tahoe Gas Station Worker Confronts Shoplifting Bear

Lake Tahoe officially has an issue with bears shoplifting from local stores. Monday I told you about the bear that rolled into a Safeway and helped itself to an unidentified food item from the produce section of the store. That same Safeway in Kings Beach was hit twice in August. A bear shoplifted a bag of Tostitos in the second incident.

Now comes word that a Kings Beach gas station worker confronted a bear who made its way through the automatic door.  Paul Heigh told local TV outlets he didn't sign up for confronting shoplifting bears. “It was kind of scary, yeah. I’m not going to lie,” he said of his face-to-face meeting with a hungry bear. “Not in the job description, no, not at all. Fighting off bears was not in the job description. It is now, apparently, yeah.”


While Paul's worried about a bear coming in and eating him and the Slim Jims, bears in Tahoe are just part of the experience of living in the woods. We're talking about animals that researchers say tend to forage for up to 20 hours a day. At some point, these guys are going to hit up Paul's gas station to crush powdered donuts.

And then we get stories like the one in 2018 when a guy jump kicked a bear that got into a cabin. Johnny Bolton lived to tell the story. “I turn around and I’m 3 feet from a bear. I blast the horn, the bear goes up on its hind legs, so fight or flight, right? Adrenaline is pumping and there is no flight available — I’ve closed the door behind me,” recalled Bolton. “The bear lunges at me and I did a jump kick and hit him square in the sternum and knocked the bear backwards, but not very far. It was a big bear.”



Written by
Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America. Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league. Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.