500-Pound Tahoe bear keeps breaking into homes to escape capture


A 500 pound black bear, who they call “Hank The Tank” has broken into another house.

“Hank” has broken into more than 30 properties around Lake Tahoe, last week he broke into another one for a quick meal.

The giant bear has eluded capture for more than seven months, according to Peter Tira, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

  • “What’s problematic about this bear is how large it is,” Tira told SF Gate on Sunday. “It’s learned to use that size and strength to break into a number of occupied residences, bursting through the garage door or front door. It’s pretty frightening.”

“Hank” is responsible for more than 150 incident reports in places close to Nevada and Northern California but a Friday break-in at Tahoe was the latest reported incident.

The bear smashed a window and squeezed into the house on Catalina Drive while the residents were at home. Police responded and banged on the outside of the house until Hank exited out the back door and disappeared into the woods.

With other given names like Jake or Yogi or simply Big Guy, the bear is what Tira described as a “severely food habituated bear” that has “lost all fear of people” and thinks of them as a food source.

A homeowners association agreed during a meeting last week to allow state wildlife personnel to capture the bear.

After the last break-in, Officials collected DNA evidence to determine if they catch the bear. If “Hank” is captured, he could be relocated to accredited facilities such as zoos and wildlife sanctuaries.

  • “You relocate it to the wilderness, and they starve because they’re not used to hunting for food,” Tira said.
  • “Killing the bear is hopefully a last resort”, said Joby Cefalu, a board member with the homeowners association.
  • “Nobody on our board took lightly the situation of depredation,” Cefalu told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re meant to coexist. Unfortunately, this is a human problem.”