Notorious 700-pound black bear strikes again in Incline | TahoeDailyTribune.com

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Notorious 700-pound black bear strikes again in Incline

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. – A bear that has been causing a path of destruction all over Incline Village is now receiving prayers from a local congregation after enjoying a Thanksgiving feast over the weekend inside the church.

The Rev. Dick Randall of the Village Church in Incline Village sent out a prayer request asking his congregation to pray for the bear. The request in the e-mail said:

“Pray that this bear(s) – which have done over $70,000 plus damage to homes and now a church – is caught and relocated. Pray also that it does NOT come back to our church.”

Last week, Nevada wildlife officials tabbed the black bear to be around 700 pounds, confirming it may be responsible for as much as $70,000 in damage this year. It has evaded traps and special night patrols sent to look for it, a Nevada Department of Wildlife said.

Even two bullets fired by a homeowner did little but slow him down for a couple of weeks.

“The deputies up there all say he’s the biggest bear they’ve ever seen,” Carl Lackey, a biologist and bear expert with NDOW, said. “He’ll walk right by a trap, he won’t go in them. He’s really random in where he goes. He’s made it real tough to catch up with him.”

Lackey said that this summer, a homeowner armed with .44 magnum handgun confronted the bear after it broke into an Incline Village home that it had already broken into several times before.

“He shot it right between the eyes and the bullet bounced off his skull. We know that because we found it,” Lackey said. “He shot it again and hit it. We know that because there was a lot of blood, but it wasn’t a mortal wound.”

Within a few weeks, the bear was back to its old antics, breaking into garages and going after trash or food in freezers.

On Saturday evening, the bear made the Village Church his next victim.

The church annually prepares and distributes food boxes to those in our community in need at Thanksgiving. Residents spent most of Saturday organizing the food that was collected and preparing to be packed into boxes Sunday.

However, sometime Saturday night, the bear found a way into the church by removing the outside handle on a back door and pulling off the push bar to get inside.

Once inside, the bear found a feast and consumed 22 jars of peanut butter, opened and tasted – but did not eat – a few boxes of corn flakes. These items were all on a table waiting to be packed. Next, the bear moved into the church kitchen, where he opened the freezer.

“He proceeded into the kitchen, opened the freezer using the handle, and created no damage, except to the inside shelves, as he helped himself to a few cans of frozen orange juice and a few dozen sweet rolls,” said Helene Larson, a member of the congregation.

Larson said that the bear left with a package of Ramen Noodle soup – the package was found up the hill from the church.

Lackey, who has been chasing the bear for the last three years, said it has broken into 40 or 50 garages around Incline this summer alone.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.