Residents cheer as 'Glendale bear' safely taken away
La Crescenta residents, some still dressed in their pajamas, cheered Tuesday morning after Fish and Game authorities slid a tranquilized 400-pound black bear into a cage to take it back to the mountains.
Lt. Martin Wall of the California Fish and Game said it took four tranquilizer darts to finally put the "Glendale bear" to sleep. The bear, which has visited the Glendale-La Crescenta area several times over the past month, showed up in a La Crescenta neighborhood early Tuesday morning and was in the backyard of a home before Fish and Game officials arrived.
Wall said two darts were successfully injected into the bear, and he had to hand-inject a third as it became sleepy.
Afterward, it took more than a half-dozen Fish and Game authorities to carry the bear through a narrow apartment complex gate on a white blanket and set him down on the asphalt behind the bear cage.
Nearly two hours after Fish and Game rangers arrived at the scene Tuesday, they secured the bear inside the cylindrical cage, shut the gate and drove it home to the Angeles National Forest. The 7-foot-long tubular bear cage was on a trailer attached to a pickup truck.
Pam Raines, 58, of Montrose, said she knew about the bear’s meatball-eating habits and in the quiet community the bear provided “excitement for us.”
“It’s sort of the local legend of Montrose," she said. “It has evolved from a safety risk to a carnival, and the carnival has lions, tigers and bears.”
Asked if there's a possibility the bear could come back, Wall said it has its “own free will,” but “the freeway is pretty big deterrent.”
Coincidentally, the bear was ear-tagged with the number 210, but Wall said it was unrelated to the nearby 210 Freeway.
Authorities originally said the bear was 250 pounds but later adjusted that to 400 pounds.
Authorities believe it was the same bear that broke into a garage last month and pried open a refrigerator to snack on some frozen meatballs. He had been returning like clockwork on trash day and then was spotted again at 2:50 a.m. Saturday in yards on the 3700 block of Cedarbend Drive and again at 6 a.m. on the 3900 block of Forestglen Drive by a newspaper delivery man.
The bear has attracted a bit of a fan club –- in part because of an amusing Twitter account that has been tweeting about the bear's comings and goings.
"Please don't be afraid of me," Glen Bearian tweeted. "I wont eat you. Unless you're a meatball from Costco. Are you?" On Monday, he was tweeting again: "Dont feed the bears. Just feed this one bear."
-- Matt Stevens in La Crescenta