Body-worn camera footage from the Simi Valley Police Department captured a black bear that broke into a Simi Valley home over the weekend to steal some snacks.
According to the police, the owner of the home in the 2600 block of Blossom Street called 911 on Sunday and said the bear was in her house, and she and her son were locked in an upstairs bedroom.
Police arrived at the house armed with a weapon that fires nonlethal rubber projectiles, intending to use it to scare the bear out of the home.
The bear was in the kitchen when police entered the house. Officers said it appeared to be eating a freshly baked cake, and was rummaging through the refrigerator to look for more food.
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Officers believe the bear entered the home through an open kitchen door. When the bear saw the officers, who began yelling "Get out of here, bear!" it ran back out that door and into the backyard, hopping a fence to get away.
The bear then climbed a tree just outside the yard, where it hung out for around 10 minutes before leaving the area and heading for the hills.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife was notified about the bear.
Black bears, which can have different color coats, like to feed on plants, insects, nuts, berries and whatever else they think of as edible -- such as the contents of trash bins. If food is scarce in their natural habitat, bears are likely to forage elsewhere, bringing them into Southern California foothill neighborhoods.
California's black bear population has been on the rise over the last two decades, growing from an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 in the early 1980s to between 25,000 and 30,000 -- and that's a conservative estimate, according to the state department of fish and wildlife.
Black bears, recognized by their small, narrow heads and small ears, have coats that range in color from tan or brown to black. Females grow up to about 200 pounds and males can be a hefty 350 pounds with some giants weighing in at more than 600 pounds.
About half of the state's bear population can be found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and areas to the north and west. Only an estimated 10 percent of the black bear population inhabits central western and southwestern California.
Although its on the state flag, the fearsome grizzly bear no longer can be found in the California wild. The last grizzly bear observed in California was shot in the early 1920s.
The Simi Valley Police Department shared the following tips when it comes to bear encounters:
- Secure trash cans and remove any attractants such as pet food and bird feeders
- Enclose your compost pile
- Keep your grill clean and as free of drippings as possible
- Check your yard before letting out your dog
- Stay calm and do not approach the bear
- From a safe distance, make loud noises, shout, or bang pots and pans to scare the bear away