FESTUS, Mo – In a Festus, Missouri, neighborhood early Tuesday morning, one family was startled by the sudden appearance and size of a bear.

“My wife got me out of bed, and she recorded it,” said Josh Johnson, a Festus resident. “She said, ‘There’s a bear out there,’ and I didn’t believe her. I came out, and sure enough, a big bear. I took a couple pictures, she took a video, and it went viral pretty quick.”

Johnson said he saw the large bear around 6 a.m. Tuesday. The bear was caught going through trash cans off Hillcrest Road near the American Legion. This is the first sighting of a bear in Festus.

Authorities asked residents to secure trash bins and put their trash cans out the day of, instead of the night before pickup.

“If you see it before it sees you, slowly back away, don’t turn and run because a lot of time if a bear sees you run, it will prompt them to chase you,” said Chief Doug Wendel for the Festus Police Department. “Make sure you always leave it out and don’t try to corner it. If you ever come into contact with a mother bear and her cubs, don’t get between the mother bear and her cubs.”

Festus police are working with the Missouri Department of Conservation on tracking the location of the bear.

Some Festus residents are on alert.

“It was pretty big,” Johnson said. “It was pretty alarming. I’ve got small kids and I had to take them up to the bus stop just for precaution. I put all the small animals and equipment inside because it’s a bear. It’s not a little stuffed animal.”

Residents that see a bear are asked to call law enforcement and the Missouri Department of Conservation.