A Fish and Game warden who has been monitoring the neighborhood believes there is only one bear, said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the agency.
The bear exhibits “pretty good behavior” because it runs away when it sees residents, he added.
Since 1980, the Department of Fish and Game lists 12 recorded black bear attacks on humans, ranging from a knock-down of a camper, to the mauling of a wildlife photographer.
But Hughan said that for the most part, bears “are more afraid of you than you are of them.”
Residents first noticed the bear two weeks ago when it entered a home garage about 2:50 a.m. on Mar. 14 in the 3700 block of Beechglen Drive. The bear was after spoiled meatballs from a malfunctioning refrigerator, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
The homeowner cleared out food from the fridge and took the remnants to the dump in his pick-up truck, he said. But the bear returned the following evening and jumped into the homeowner’s truck, Lorenz added.
Police have received at least five reports of bear sightings — including of one the bear drinking from a pool and another knocking down and digging into trash cans — since the spoiled meatball incident, he said.
Before the first sighting this month, the last reported bear sighting was on Nov. 10 on Santa Carlotta Street and Glencove Avenue.
The bear likely will return to the hillside neighborhood due to warmer weather and new fruit crops, Hughan said.
He advised residents to prune all fruit trees and take extra precautions in safeguarding their trash cans. They should also spray trash cans with bleach to kill food odors.
Residents should also store trash cans inside their garages until the morning of trash pick-up days — a precaution many residents aren’t taking, officials said.
“They are living on the edge of bear country,” Hughan said. “People need to take responsibility for that bear.”