Calif. bears invading suburbia

A 400-lb. bear wandered through the Los Angeles suburb of Montrose Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012.
LA County Sheriff's Department

(CBS News) It used to be, around Los Angeles, the only place you could see a bear was in the zoo, or on the California state flag.

Not so anymore. On Sunday, a brown bear surprised residents in a suburban neighborhood in Montrose, Calif., reports CBS News correspondent John Blackstone.

Homeowners across the United States might have to get used to this.

"We were out on the porch reading the paper and he just walked right on by," said resident Carla Reiber.

"And then I heard the thump," said Dan Meizoso. "And then I saw it right outside my window, my bedroom window."

CBS Station KCBS reports the 400-pound bear first appeared on the Foothill Freeway, prompting its shutdown, and was also spotted in front of a closed nail salon and around the track at Crescenta Valley High School.

On Sunday morning officials in Montrose, Calif., initiated a full-scale manhunt  -- or, BEAR hunt  -- to track down the elusive beast.

Fish and Game officials finally cornered the animal, and used tranquilizers to subdue him into an early hibernation.

"We were able to immobilize him with three darts, and now we're going to release him into the wild," said Warden J.C. Healy of the California Department of Fish and Game.

Bears running through the suburbs are becoming a more common sight. You might remember "Meatball," who became a regular visitor to a Southern California neighborhood this summer.

And it's not just in California. A family of bears recently took up residence in a tree in Golden, Colo.

Last week in Boulder, a bear made himself at home in a family's back yard.

Some bears wandered onto an outdoor TV news set in Pennsylvania; and surveillance video captured a bear breaking into a candy store in upstate New York.

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Boulder's famed "falling bear" killed by car
Bear cubs escape heat with dip in backyard pool

Officials say the nation's drought conditions are forcing bears out of their usual habitats in search of food and water.

Nancy Shannon recorded video of yesterday's close encounter with her cell phone, as deputies with tranquilizer guns moved in. "I think they had already shot him once," she told CBS News," 'cause he was walking like a drunken sailor across the street."

She notes the bear's natural home was likely destroyed by wildfires. "We're looking at the effects from the Station fire, brings a lot of the wildlife down here," Shannon said. "They're thirsty, they're hungry. That's what they're coming for."

So having wild animals in these neighborhoods might be something homeowners will just have to grin and bear.