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500-lb bear breaks into Lake Tahoe homes

Black Bear (FILE)
Posted at 11:25 AM, Feb 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-20 14:25:51-05

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KERO) — A wild 500-pound bear broke into a home in South Lake Tahoe and this is not the first time. The bear, nicknamed 'Hank the Tank' has broken into dozens of homes and has become quite a problem for locals.

Bridget Marchetti Phillip and her families live across the street from where Hank, a 500-pound black bear, broke into their neighbor's Tahoe Keys home Friday morning.

"I'm tired of having to fear our lives quite frankly because of what the bear may or may not do."

John Barrett and Phillip share a family house in the neighborhood and are teaching their kids bear safety after years of seeing them in their neighborhood and backyard.

"We have to be able to protect our children and be able to walk outside of our house."

"It's really scary because we use to be able to go on walks and bike rides by ourselves but it's become a bigger problem," said daughter Olivia Philip.

"So now we bring the bear horn whenever we go on," added daughter Samantha Phillip.

South Lake Tahoe police found Hank inside a house after he got in through a window. Neighbors say this is the second time he has broken into the same house. Police had to scare him away.

Said Officer Dylan Sullivan: "I went to the front door and banged on the house."

Nicknamed Hank the Tank, the Department of Fish and Wildlife has been trying to track and trap him with 38 homes already damaged in the area.

"These are neighborhoods, there's a lot of people around, traffic and cars. So, we have to do this in a way that is safe for both the public and the bear itself," said Peter Tira.

"I've been in town 40 years and I've been locking my doors recently and I've never done that," said neighbor Tim Johson.

A bear burden neighbors hope ends soon

"This has been happening for a very long time and eventually something very, very bad is going to happen," said Phillip.