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A rash of home break-ins in the Mendenhall Valley may be the responsibility of a single culprit, an Alaska Fish and Game biologist said Monday.
"I would guess so," Neil Barten said, explaining that one bear may have figured out the rewards of getting into people's homes. "It seems like the same animal. We have not been able to catch it.
"He seems to be really good at getting into places." Barten said.
In the latest incident, a black bear broke into a home in the Kodzoff Acres Mobile Home Park in the 2800 block of Mendenhall Loop Road. The bear got "a bunch of food" and got into boxes containing dry goods, such as flour and hot chocolate mix.
"He made a heck of a mess," Barten said.
Juneau police have gotten other reports of bears getting into homes during late summer as they fatten up before going into hibernation.
Monday afternoon a trap was set up for the bear near the scene of his crime, in hopes that his latest successful raid would inspire him to return, Barten said. But Fish and Game has been unsuccessful in trapping bears in any of the areas where there have been especially troublesome.
"Some bears don't go into traps," he said. Some bears, he added, have experience with traps.
The bear that broke into the Kodzoff home was described as a black with two ear tags. When a bear is captured and relocated, it is tagged in the ear. A second tag indicated a two-time offender.
A bear with two ear tags was seen two weeks ago in the airport area attempting to push its way into houses. It eluded capture, but its picture, with a diaper dangling from its mouth, appeared on the front page of the Sept. 7 Juneau Empire.
Many bears figure out how to get into trash. Some figure out how to get into freezers. This bear apparently has learned how to get into people's homes.
If it is captured, it won't get another ear tag, Barten said. "He's going to end up dead."
Barten said he hates to see bears killed, but even if it didn't have two ear tags, the punishment would be clear.
"He's a home raider," Barten said.