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California authorities capture suspects in break-ins at Lake Tahoe homes: a mama bear and three cubs

In a scene straight from a children's book, the burglar and her three accomplices were caught Friday. The bear, known as 64F, is suspected in dozens of incidents.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — California authorities have captured four suspects in multiple break-ins at homes around South Lake Tahoe: a mama bear and three of her cubs.

DNA has confirmed the large female black bear and her three little accomplices were responsible for at least 21 instances of property damage since 2022, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement.

The mother bear and her babies were “safely immobilized” on Friday, the statement said. The adult female, known to researchers as 64F, will likely be taken to a sprawling wildlife sanctuary near Springfield, Colorado.

Her cubs could end up at a rehabilitation facility in Sonoma County, California, “in hopes they can discontinue the negative behaviors they learned from the sow and can be returned to the wild,” the statement said.

Credit: AP
This undated photo provided by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife shows the South Lake Tahoe conflict bear 64F.

64F, who was outfitted with a tracking device earlier this year, is one of three adult bears identified last year as being responsible for 150 incident reports, including property damage, in the lake region straddling Northern California and Nevada.

Originally it was believed that a single, large black bear the public nicknamed “Hank the Tank” had been breaking into homes. Eventually, Fish and Wildlife announced that it was actually three separate bears responsible for the mayhem.

Bears in California have taken to various measures to beat the heat and find food as temperatures remain high in the state. 

Last week, police in the city of Burbank responded to a report of a bear sighting in a residential neighborhood and found the animal sitting in a Jacuzzi behind one of the homes.

After a short dip, the bear climbed over a wall and headed to a tree behind the home, police said in a statement Friday.

Police released a video of the animal in the neighborhood, which is about 10 miles north of Los Angeles and near the Verdugo Mountains.

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