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NJ Wildlife Officials Tranquilize Bear Spotted In Resident's Basement

HOPATCONG, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Animal control officers in New Jersey were forced to tranquilize a bear Wednesday that was found inside someone's basement.

The bear led officials on a chase through the neighborhood in Hopatcong. The animal was first spotted in the basement of a home by a Cablevision worker, who heard him growling while he was inside working.

"I think when I drilled the hole through the floor, I probably woke him up.  Because I turned around with the flashlight and...I just freaked out. I threw my tools, ran out of the basement," Dave Cornine said while chuckling.

Officers with New Jersey Fish and Wildlife were able to dart him twice with tranquilizers. When they did, the bear sprinted out of the basement and took off.

The bear, an adult male estimated to be well over 500 pounds, took a long time to go down. Officers expected it would take about 15 minutes for the drugs to kick in, but he was still running around 45 minutes later much to the amazement of people in the neighborhood, who couldn't believe their eyes.

"I saw a big bear coming off that property and a guy behind him with a gun and he just shot him with a tranquilizer and he went off that way through their yard," resident Mike Turnage told CBS 2's Kathryn Brown.

"Big time bear chase and there's nothing better than a bear chase. But I hope it comes out to a good ending because this is one of the most beautiful animals I've seen in the history of probably Hopatcong -- he's beautiful. He's the biggest girthy bear I've ever seen," resident Joseph John Justin said.

Animal control officers said the is healthy and once he's tagged and given a medical exam, they will release him onto state property where, hopefully, he will stay.

Experience many bear sightings where you live?  Let us know in the comments section...

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