After weeks of late-night snacking in backyards, “Glen Bearian,” the black bear with a taste for meatballs, was given the boot from North Glendale Tuesday, after state fish and game officials tranquilized and relocated him to the Angeles National Forest.
Spotted roaming the streets of La Crescenta at 3 a.m., the bear started attracting a media horde at sunrise, perched in the backyard of a vacant home in 2300 block of Mayfield Avenue. Television news cameras tracked the bear as it climbed fences into other yards and at one point, took the sidewalk, sending startled residents running for cover.
California Fish and Game officials eventually shot the bear with two tranquilizer darts, then had to administer a third dose by hand, to fully sedate the 400-pound beast. It took a half-dozen people to move the bear from the apartment complex in which it finally conked out to a 7-foot-long tubular cage in the bed of a pickup truck.
Fish and Game Lt. Martin Wall described the process of moving a bear “like moving a water bed without a frame.”
The bear was ear-tagged and driven to an undisclosed location deep within Angeles National Forest.
While officials couldn’t confirm it, they said it was likely the same bear that over the past month has come down to feed from trash bins and backyard citrus trees, usually late at night. The bear famously pried open a refrigerator in the garage of a North Glendale home several weeks ago to feast on frozen meatballs.
A Twitter account was set up by a sympathizer earlier this month, making the bear a bit of a local celebrity.
“Please don't be afraid of me,” read one tweet. “I won’t eat you. Unless you're a meatball from Costco. Are you?”
The bear’s appearances soon became as regular as the trash pick-up cycle.
“We don't think there are many bears below the 210 Freeway,” Wall said. “That is what makes this kind of unusual.”
The hoopla created Tuesday enveloped an otherwise sleepy neighborhood.
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, 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.”
During the tranquilizing operation, Glen Bearian tweeted, “Pray for me,” eliciting a string of farewell responses.
But his fans may still take heart. Soon after the bear was loaded up for transport, he tweeted, “I’ll be back.”
Staff reporter Daniel Siegal contributed to this report.