Bear known as ‘Hank the Tank’ breaks into homes in California neighborhood

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KOVR) – A wild 500-pound bear broke into a home in south Lake Tahoe. And this isn’t the first time.

The bear, nicknamed “Hank the Tank,” has broken into dozens of homes and has become quite a problem for locals.

“I’m tired of having to fear for our lives, quite frankly, because of what the bear may or may not do,” she said.

Bridget Marchetti Phillip shares a family house with John Barrett. They live across the street from where Hank the black bear broke into their neighbors’ Tahoe Keys home Friday morning.

“We have to be able to protect our children and be able to walk outside of our house,” Barrett said.

The two are teaching their kids bear-safety after years of seeing the animals in their neighborhood and backyard.

“It’s really scary because we used to be able to go on walks and bike rides by ourselves, but its become a bigger problem,” Olivia Phillip, Bridget Marchetti Phillips’s daughter, said.

Now, the kids have to bring a bear horn whenever they go out by themselves.

South Lake Tahoe police found Hank inside a house after he got in through a window. Officer Dylan Sullivan said he had to scare the bear away by banging on the house. Neighbors said this is the second time he has broken into the same house.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife have been trying to track and trap Hank the Tank after he’s damaged at least 38 homes in the area.

“These are neighborhoods, there’s a lot of people around, traffic and cars,” Peter Tira, with the department, said. “So, we have to do this in a way that is safe for both the public and the bear itself.”

Other residents of the area said that they’ve had to change their routines because of Hank.

“I’ve been in town 40 years and I’ve been locking my doors recently and I’ve never done that,” Tim Johnson said.

Neighbors hope that this bear burden will end soon.

“This has been happening for a very long time and eventually something very, very bad is going to happen,” Phillip said.

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