HOPATCONG, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The 550-pound bear that was found hiding out in a New Jersey basement had been living there for weeks.
CBS2's Kathryn Brown spoke to the bear's "landlord" on Thursday.
Frank Annacone, 85, never imagined that a bear would move in with him.
"I could have ended up lunch for that big guy," he said, still expressing disbelief.
Annacone learned about his roommate yesterday from Dave Cornine, a Cablevision technician who had come over for a repair job in the basement.
"I heard the growl, I thought what is that noise," Cornine said.
"I just freaked out, threw my tools, ran out of the basement," he said.
When Animal Control officers attempted to tranquillize the bear he took off, leading them on an hour-long chase.
When Annacone finally saw a video of the bear he couldn't believe his eyes.
"Look at the size of that lad! And he was down there dozing in my basement!" he exclaimed.
Annacone said that he doesn't usually lock his basement door and that it was probably slightly ajar, allowing the big bear to push his way inside. He told Brown that he only goes downstairs occasionally to check heating oil levels.
Animal Control officers believe the bear had been living in the basement for at least several weeks. The bear had fashioned a den of his own in the basement, bringing in twigs and leaves, in anticipation of a winter-long stay.
The bear was eventually caught, tagged, and released back onto state property. In the future Annacone said that he'll be locking his basement door.
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