California Residents Are Baffled As A Massive Bear Keeps Stealing Pizza

Some noteworthy animals have robbed their fair share of pizza over the years. The infamous rat known as "Pizza Rat" was spotted in New York dragging away a slice of pizza, while a variety of cats went viral after snatching their owners' pizzas (via Delish). Now another animal has made the news thanks to its pizza-stealing ways and its victims are starting to tire of the bear's antics.

According to Food & Wine, a 500-pound black bear nicknamed "Hank the Tank" has found its way to Lake Tahoe and started breaking into homes, rummaging through the kitchens of the unsuspecting residents. On average, this species of bear weighs between 100 and 300 pounds, and a local wildlife expert believes this particular animal gained the extra 200 pounds by going after human food. So far, the bear has invaded at least 28 homes since July 2021 and goes straight to the kitchen. The New York Times reports that once "Hank the Tank" enters a home, he doesn't act aggressively. "He just sits there and eats," Ann Bryant, the executive director of the Bear League, said. "He doesn't attack them. He doesn't growl. He doesn't make rude faces."

While the bear might use his large figure to break into homes to politely eat food, his behavior has sparked some to call for a drastic solution.

Stark consequences for breaking and entering

According to The New York Times, Lake Tahoe residents have been split over how to handle Hank the Tank. One resident set out a bear trap, which was then quickly defaced with graffiti reading, "Bear Killer." Other residents have noted concern over the bear's behavior, but also stated that they don't lose sleep over the possibility of a break-in. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has stated that Hank needs to get captured and euthanized.

According to spokesperson Peter Tira, the bear may have lost the ability to competently scavenge and hunt for food in the wild, and if relocated, might starve or get attacked by another territorial bear. "It's easier to find leftover pizza than to go in the forest," Tira told The New York Times. Officers have tried every option available to dissuade the bear from breaking into houses to steal pizza, including shooting it with paintballs, beanbags, and even using Tasers. These methods haven't stopped the animal, and at this rate, Hank the Tank's pizza-stealing ways may be coming to an abrupt end soon.