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With help of tranquilizer darts, black bear sent back to forest

April 10, 2012 |  7:07 pm

Glendale bear
By all accounts, the 400-pound black bear, now synonymous with Glendale, is very, very smart. Smarter, police say, than the average bear.

After he first discovered Costco meatballs in a resident’s refrigerator about a month ago, authorities say the bear has returned to the same house on the 3800 block of Cedarbend Drive three times seeking the same dinner. He even monitored trash schedules in multiple neighborhoods, nailing down the days when he could nab free food.

But on Tuesday, the meatball-loving bear's good fortune ran out. He was felled by multiple tranquilizer darts in drama that unfolded on morning television. He was then taken deep into the Angeles National Forest with what state Department of Fish and Game officials described as a “heck of a hangover.”

“I feel sorry for it. It’s just down here trying to survive,” said Tod Sciacqua, 44, of Montrose. “This is what happens when you build homes against the forest. We encroach on their land, they end up in our backyards. That’s the way it goes.”

The bear, who has a Twitter handle that names him “Glen Bearian,” had his fate sealed sometime after 6 a.m. Tuesday when Fish and Game Lt. Martin Wall was summoned to Montrose after police received  four reports of bear sightings.

By about 7:30 a.m. the bear had been struck twice by tranquilizer darts, Wall said. About an hour later, he was mixing chemicals on the back of a truck bed, when a colleague approached and said, “We’ve got to end this thing.”

Wall injected a third dart into the bear and helped seven deputies carry the now-sleeping bear out of a narrow apartment-complex gate.

“It’s like moving a water bed without a frame,” Wall said afterward.

In front of dozens of locals, some dressed in pajamas, others carrying their kids on their shoulders, authorities slid the blanketed bear into in a giant cylindrical tube. When the bear trap slammed shut, the spectators let out a cheer and said the applause was as much for their own renewed safety as for the bear that became the town’s mascot.

“It’s sort of the local legend of Montrose,” Pam Raines, 58 said of the bear. “He’s never hurt anybody.

“We get coyotes all the time, and they’re more dangerous than the bears that come down here,” added Chris Lagerstrom, 31, of La Crescenta. “We love cuddly bears.”

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--Matt Stevens

Twitter.com/mattstevenslat

Photo: A black bear strolls through the yard of a home in the 2300 block of Mayfield Avenue in La Crescenta on Tuesday morning. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

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