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California

In pre-dawn chase, dozen officers corner bear in tree

A bear caught roaming around a Baldwin Park neighborhood early Friday was tranquilized and loaded into the back of a pickup truck on its way back into the forest.

Police officials kept spotlights on the bear as it wandered around a commercial district, lumbering over chain-link fences and over cinder block walls until winding up in a tree near portable bathrooms in a parking lot.

PHOTOS: Bears of Southern California

Aerial news footage showed state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials move in as about a dozen police officers kept the bear cornered.

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By about 6:45 a.m., the bear had been tranquilized and loaded into the back of a truck for transport deep into the forest. Officers snapped photos and even took the chance to pet the bear’s coat before it was carted off on its own morning commute into the mountains.

RELATED: History of bears in Los Angeles

Bears have been a recurring sight in communities below L.A. area mountains as the ursines respond to easy pickings offered by unsecured trash cans or exposed fruit trees and pet food.

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jason.wells@latimes.com

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