WATCH: Incredibly Chunky Bear Filmed Walking Down the Beach in the Tahoe Keys

by Emily Morgan

For the last several months, a 500-pound black bear, known as Hank the Tank, has been roaming the streets of the Tahoe Keys. According to reports, the famous bear has been seen numerous times around the South Lake Tahoe area, about 100 miles east of Sacramento.

However, this neighborhood black bear isn’t as friendly as you might think. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Hank has caused damage to 33 properties in the last seven months and forcefully entered at least 28 homes.

On Tuesday, the South Lake Tahoe Police Department told news outlets that the department believes Hank is responsible for two more break-ins that occurred over the weekend.

In a Facebook post, the department said the devious black bear broke through a small window and somehow managed to get inside a house on Friday when no one was home. However, he surprisingly didn’t break into the garage, where the homeowners kept the trash. Once officers arrived, they banged on the home’s exterior until he fled through the back door.

On Saturday, officials also believed Hank broke down a front door to enter another home. However, police have yet to confirm if Hank is responsible for this break-in, but believe Hank is also the culprit in this instance.

The fish and wildlife department also said there had been no recent direct attacks on humans or pets in the Tahoe Keys area from black bears.

Tahoe Keys officials report receiving hundreds of calls reporting a black bear in the area

Despite this, it hasn’t kept Lake Tahoe residents from flooding the police lines with phone calls, and the wildlife department said residents had filed more than 100 individual reports of the bear with the South Lake Tahoe police department.

Wildlife department spokesperson Peter Tira told reporters they have been following incidents with this specific black bear since the spring of 2021.

“The incidents primarily occurred during the summer and fall of 2021, when the bear was in hyperphagia, adding calories to survive the winter,” Tira said. According to the US National Park Service, hyperphagia causes bears to eat and drink nearly nonstop during the fall as a way to prepare for hibernation.

Per reports from the CDFW, Hank has no fear of people and has learned that humans are associated with food. In addition, his large size helps makes it easier for him to get into homes as he can push through doors.

While Hank has yet to attack a human in his search for food, a similar bear previously mauled a Lake Tahoe woman in October. The bear in question broke into her cabin and began going through her kitchen in search of food. The woman had suffered scratches and other wounds to her body.

To prevent instances like this, the community can take various steps such as relocation, putting the bear in a facility, or as a last resort, euthanasia.