Neighborhood taken by storm as black bear is relocated

As the bear that some are dubbing "Meatball" succumbs to his tranquilizer darts behind an apartment complex in the 2400 block of Montrose Avenue, residents in this quiet neighborhood are still wrapping their heads around the spectacle.

Faye Guymon, who has lived on nearby Briggs Avenue next to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church since 1968, said she has never seen more than a coyote on her street

"I never saw such a thing," she said. "I thought maybe it was an accident. I jumped up and my girlfriend called me. She says, 'Stay in the house.'"

Tom Gossard, who also lives on Briggs Avenue and teaches at R.D. White Elementary School, had just returned from getting coffee at 6 a.m. when he spotted the huge black bear.

"I came out about 20 minutes later and he's walking down the sidewalk," he said. "I ran back in my house, now I am watching like everybody else."

While authorities today said they can't be certain, it is likely that the black bear is the same one that's been rummaging through trash bins and back yards for weeks. The bear gained widespread attention not only for its size -- estimated at more than 200 pounds -- but for what it ate: frozen meatballs scrounged from a garage refrigerator.

"We don't think there are many bears below the 210 Freeway," Lt. Martin Wall with Fish and Game said. "That is what makes this kind of unusual."

The bear also got its own Twitter account and quickly became something of a local celebrity.

While the bear's appearances had been mostly at night, its stroll was much more public today after being spotted strolling through the La Crescenta area at 3 a.m. The bear then took a leisurely nap in a vacant back yard as the media cameras stormed in.

State Fish and Game officials have since tranquilized the bear and are preparing to relocate it to the Angeles National Forest, where it will be tagged for remote tracking.

"He is going to get a ride deep into the forest, I don't know exactly where yet," Wall said.

-- Jason Wells, Megan O'Neil and Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

Twitter: @JasonBretWells @megankoneil


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