WATERVILLE, Maine — Waterville police are warning the public not to approach a black bear that was spotted several times Monday near Silver Street and Pleasantdale Avenue.

Waterville Police Chief Joseph Massey said the first bear sighting reported about 5 a.m. on Pleasantdale Avenue, but the bear had wandered back into the woods before police officers could get there.

The next sighting was about 9 p.m in the parking lot of a funeral home on Silver Street, Massey said. Again, the bear disappeared into the woods before officers arrived. A short time later, the bear was seen on Crommett Street before it headed back into the woods, he said.

The bear did not reappear on Tuesday, but Massey said if it continues to frequent the neighborhood, the Maine Warden Service might be asked to relocate it.

Massey said police issued a warning about the bear because the area it was seen is fairly densely populated, has many children and is close to a wooded area, recreational trails the Messalonskee Stream.

Residents are asked not to leave out garbage or food that animals might find attractive.

Massey asked anyone who spots the bear to call the police department at 680-4700.