SIERRA MADRE, Calif. - When a homeowner in Sierra Madre returned home overnight, she knew she was in for quite the adventure after she discovered her side door was wide open.
She then peaked through the window and saw her refrigerator was also open and food was scattered across the kitchen. Right away, she said she knew this wasn’t an ordinary intruder.
"I automatically knew that a bear was in my house because we had been alerted that a bear was around the perimeter of our home and a couple of our neighbors' yards too," said homeowner Chelsea Mapanda.
She remained outside her home located in the 100 block of Hermosa Avenue, located near the section of South Baldwin Avenue and Sierra Bonita Boulevard, and contacted police just before 2 a.m. Wednesday.
"I am not going inside my home with a bear," she told a news photographer at the scene.
Once officers with the Sierra Madre Police Department arrived, they went inside the home and heard what sounded like a wild animal.
The search was on for a bear who allegedly broke into a home in Sierra Madre on the morning of Sept. 13, 2023.
The officers then stepped out and contacted California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Mapanda said she believed the bear was snacking on the fresh mangos she purchased a few days ago.
Bears are commonly spotted in that part of Los Angeles County. Burton Brick, an Arcadia resident, shared pictures of a bear seen in his neighborhood.
A bear spotted in Arcadia near the Sierra Madre home. (Burton Brink/Arcadia)
Bear paw prints found inside a home. (Burton Brink/Arcadia)
Although she was tired, Mapanda remained patient and said she wanted the bear safely removed. Authorities even used drones in search of the four-legged bandit.
"This is the time of year they’re on hyperphagia. So, what that means is that their instincts are telling them ‘hey, I gotta fatten up for winter. I gotta be hibernating,’ and our bears here don’t hibernate but they don’t know that but their instincts are still the same…so they’re just in food mode," explained Mackenzie Rich with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Following the hours-long search, state officials determined the bear, believed to be a male cub, escaped from the back of the house because they found some bear prints and compressed foliage.
State officials were also hoping to collect DNA evidence from the scene in case the bear found himself in trouble again.