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Bear Witness Enormous bear 'Hank the Tank' caught stealing food from Californian homes

Hank the Tank has been roaming the streets of Tahoe Keys in South Lake Tahoe, California since last summer

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Hank the Tank (BEAR League/Facebook)

Hank the Tank (BEAR League/Facebook)

Hank the Tank (BEAR League/Facebook)

A 226kg black bear has caused chaos in a California neighbourhood after breaking into a number of properties in the area.

The animal, nicknamed ‘Hank the Tank’, has been roaming the streets of Tahoe Keys in South Lake Tahoe, California – not far from Sacramento – since last summer.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Hank has caused extensive damage at least 38 properties and forcefully entered 28 homes.

However, the CDFW added that he has not directly attacked any humans or pets in the area.

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Hank the Tank (BEAR League/Facebook)

Hank the Tank (BEAR League/Facebook)

Hank the Tank (BEAR League/Facebook)

Residents have called the police about Hank more than 100 times since last July when his reign of terror began, and some authorities are planning to trap the bear and euthanise him.

Speaking to the New York Times, CDFW spokesman Peter Tira said: “This is a bear that has lost all fear of people. It’s a potentially dangerous situation.”

However, others have gotten used to Hank’s presence in the area, with the South Lake Tahoe Police Department even referring to him as their “big bear friend.”

In a social media statement on Friday, the police department recalled an incident where Hank had broken into another house through a small window.

Officers explained that they drove Hank away by making noises to disturb him before encouraging locals to apply for a ‘bear box’ - a locker used to conceal foods and other items that might smell attractive to a bear.

They said: “’Hank the Tank,’ our big bear friend who has adopted the Tahoe Keys neighborhood as his residential area, is trying harder and harder to prove to the Keys [Homeowners Association] that they need to allow bear boxes.

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“On Catalina Drive this morning, Officers Sullivan and Wallace responded to a report of Hank inside a house. They banged on the exterior of the home until he popped out a back door. They then stayed in the area to ensure he continued on his way without damaging any other homes.

“This bear did not break into a garage where trash was kept that he was sniffing out. He broke into a secured home, through the small window in the photo, and somehow squeezed inside.

“When needed, our officers are trained to use deterrents such as loud sirens, dry-firing their tasers (makes a clicky-clack noise that the bears hate!), and beanbag rounds to remind bears that it's not very nice to break people's property!! We want them to go back to their homes in the forest.”

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