August 6, 2010 in Region

Brazen black bear breaks into Montana houses

Associated Press
 

BILLINGS, Mont. — A brazen black bear with a late-night hankering for supreme pizza surprised a Montana resident last week, and it’s not the first time the animal has eluded capture.

The bear is believed responsible for about 21 break-ins in the Red Lodge area in south-central Montana over the past few weeks.

In the most recent heist, Marek Rosin said he awoke at about 1:30 a.m. on July 29 to find the bear had pushed open the door to his back porch and was raiding his chest freezer.

“He was about four feet from me with his head in the freezer munching on a pizza,” Rosin said. “It was almost comical if it wouldn’t have been that close.”

Rosin scared the bear off before it could eat anything more.

Most of the break-ins involve the bear climbing through a screened window or breaking through a screen door to access refrigerators or freezers, said Shawn Stewart, a Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist.

Stewart said he thinks a single adult black bear is causing most of the problems. Two culvert traps were set up, but the bear has avoided them. Another bear was captured and relocated.

Over the past four days, no new reports of bear break-ins have come in. It’s unknown if the bear might have left the area.

Bear incidents are also being reported south of Bozeman, east of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and around Jackson Hole, Wyo.

“It’s fairly widespread,” Stewart said.

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