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Wandering Bear Tears Apart Porch In Clinton, N.J.

CLINTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A bear that wandered into a Clinton, N.J. neighborhood prompted numerous calls to 911 Friday afternoon.

"The mailman was running down the street, yelling to the police," said Scott Geisler.

Geisler told CBS 2's Don Champion he saw the bear just before noon when he went outside to get some air.

"The first thing I thought was OK, it's three hours until my daughter gets out of school, so she's probably safe. And second thing was I need to get a picture of this cause this is going to be cool," Geisler said.

Neighbors frantically called police after spotting the bear near a home off Leigh Street.

Tranquilized Bear In Clinton, N.J.
Officials check out a bear that wandered through Clinton, N.J. on May 16, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

"Probably about a half dozen homes, he got into the garbage. Basically he was a nuisance at first, and then he got into another house and started tearing apart some of the insulation from the home," Sgt. Cory Kubinak said.

"They thought he was breaking into a house, but that doesn't appear to be the case. He was probably just trying to get some bugs from under part of the porch," said Kelsey Burguess with the Department of Fish & Wildlife.

The bear roamed around homes for several minutes until officers and a state Department of Fish & Wildlife crew were able to scare it into a wooded area near the Clifton Public School, Champion reported.

The bear -- which weighs 443 pounds and is about 4-5 years old -- climbed a tree and that was when officials were able to tranquilize it.

The black bear was so huge, crews had to use a backhoe to help get the animal into a cage to be hauled away.

"It stopped and looked at me and I realized the haunches were large. I mean, I'm a 270 pound guy and that thing is bigger than me," Geisler said.

Damage Caused By Bear In Clinton, N.J.
Torn-apart insulation under a porch following a visit from a bear in Clinton, N.J. on May 16, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

Officials said while the bear had been tagged before, there were no reported problems with it in the past.

Wildlife officials said the bear was taken to a wooded area far away from town, where he can roam and play safely.

To reduce the risk of black bear encounters, officials said homeowners should secure trash cans and avoid filling bird feeders during spring and summer.

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