A mother bear and her three cubs were foraging in an area of West Caldwell known as the Gardens Sunday morning.
The four black bears were reported to be scouring through garbage cans in the neighborhood around 11 a.m., and a couple of hours later they were spotted on Richard Avenue behind a home just off of Bloomfield Avenue, a busy county road.
West Caldwell Police were keeping watch on the bears' activity, according to Capt. Gerard Paris, who was on the scene.
A children's soccer game scheduled at nearby Richard Park was moved as a precaution.
The sightings have been reported to the N.J. Department of Fish and Wildlife, but officials from the environmental agency had yet to respond around 1 p.m.
Giulio Marandola who lives on Richard Avenue said he saw the mother bear and her cubs coming down his street. Marandola said he tried to get a photograph, but they were moving too fast.
"It's pretty exciting," Marandola said about his otherwise quiet neighborhood.
Another neighbor, Scott Rozell, said his two young children were riding their bikes outside Sunday morning when they received a warning from the police.
"They told us to keep the kids inside," Rozell said.
Paris said the police would assist the bears in making their way to a more natural habitat and help them get across Bloomfield Avenue, if needed.
Konner Chevrolet, about two blocks away, was packed with people who came to see a vintage Corvette show. Bloomfield Avenue was closed off with orange cones at Francine and Distler avenues.
Bear sightings are unusual but not unheard of in the Caldwells, Paris said.
Last summer, a black bear was captured on video in North Caldwell cooling off in a backyard pool.