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A Massive Black Bear Named 'Hank The Tank' Is On The Run From California Police After Breaking Into 28 Homes

Photo: Twitter / Youtube
Hank the Tank and his large paw print

A California neighborhood is currently being terrorized by a unlikely but incredibly prolific burglar.

So far, locals and police have been powerless to stop this quarter-ton monster. Despite this, the burglar has been sloppy and police have a name and a picture to use to identify him.

A 500-pound black bear that locals have dubbed “Hank the Tank” is on the run from authorities.

The South Lake Tahoe Police department has said that Hank is, “readily identifiable due to exceptionally large size and dark coat with a lighter muzzle.”

Hank the Tank is a black bear that has broken into 28 homes in the Lake Tahoe area causing extensive damage. At 500 pounds, Hank is far large for a black bear and has become dangerous recently.

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Hank has become comfortable enough around humans that he isn’t afraid of entering houses, even when there are people there. He has shown that he isn’t afraid to break in either and has broken in through windows, doors and even garage doors.

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Spokesperson Peter Tira with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said of Hank’s behavior, “It's learned to use its size and strength to force its way into homes, It'll barge through garage doors, it'll barge through front doors. It'll go through windows.”

Authorities think that they may have to euthanize Hank, but wildlife groups disagree.

Hank has truly become a menace to the people of the Lake Tahoe area and his behavior could prove to be extremely dangerous as Hank spends more and more time in close quarters with humans as well as associating homes with food.

Hank has become a problem for the people of the Lake Tahoe area in the last seven months. In that time, Hank has caused extensive damage and has, concerningly, skipped hibernation entirely. With food so readily available in homes in the area, the bear has simply continued to forage and eat rather than rest for the winter.

Several methods have been attempted to drive hank away from humans, including bean bag munitions, but nothing has worked so far as Hank just continues to damage property and break into homes.

Peter Tira also commented on Hank’s abnormal size (black bears average 100-300 pounds) saying, “He's not subsisting on a diet of ants and berries like a lot of wild bears do.”

Experts are chalking Hank’s size up to his diet of human food.

Locals are being more carefully about securing their homes and garbage while Hank is still on the loose. One local said, “I've been in town 40 years and I've been locking my doors recently and I've never done that.”

Honestly, in a fight between Hank the Tank and a locked door, I’m don’t think that I’d trust that locked door to keep Hank out.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.