Authorities gave a heads up to South Lake Tahoe residents that their homes might be occupied by some guests after they have been away for evacuation orders because of the Caldor Fire.
Police said that the multiple burglary reports last week were determined to be bear break-ins.
While people vacate their homes, South Lake Tahoe Police Chief Dave Stevenson noted the activity on bear population.
“Bears are used to living in a more urban environment. They’re familiar with which day is garbage day. They know how to open dumpsters, and they know when people aren’t home,” he said.
Among the residents who monitored her property through a security camera was Karen Allen who witnessed how the animals searched for food in her premises.
“I’ve seen them a couple of times on my camera, and there’s nobody to tell them to go away right now,” she said.
As South Lake Tahoe repopulates, more than 100 law enforcement officers were deployed, KTVU reported.
A number of bear break-ins were said to have “doubled or tripled” recently, said Simon Brown, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, told SFGATE.
“It’s normal to see bears [in Tahoe],” Brown said. “But they’ve been seen in the urban areas more than usual.”
The officer noted that human intrusion is not a concern – only wild animals.
“We’ve been fortunate to have huge support from outside enforcement agencies so the number of officers has gone way way up, not only to stop looters, but to mitigate the problems bears are causing,” Brown said.
Officers are informing the residents if they notice that their homes might be accessed by either humans or bears. If they cannot contact the homeowners, they will inform them by writing a note.
“If you see that your house was broken into, call us. We’ll determine if it’s bear- or human-caused,” Brown said. “All of the break-ins so far have been bears. We’ve been aggressive throughout this whole time that humans have been evacuated to keep the bears out the best way we can.”