POSTED: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 1:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 1:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A large bear that was on the move early Tuesday in the La Crescenta, California area was tranquilized and cornered behind an apartment before officers hauled it away in front of a large crowd of onlookers.
The black bear -- affectionately called "Meatball" by residents -- was first seen at about 3 a.m., according to residents.
Aerial video showed the bear in the backyard of a residence at about 7 a.m. before it climbed a fence into the backyard of another residence, camped out in an enclosure behind a house and turned "Crescenta" into a trending topic on Twitter in LA.
The bear, estimated at about 400 pounds, was tracked along Mayfield Avenue, just south of the 210 Freeway.
He was hit with at least one tranquilizer dart and cautious officers waited for it to take take effect.
"As big as he is, and the excitement and the adrenaline, it may take a little more than usual," said Lt. Martin Wall, of the California Department of Fish and Game.
At least five officers carried the bear from behind the residence to a transport as a crowd of residents watched and took photos.
"It's like moving a waterbed without a frame," Wall said.
The bear visit is not unusual in the foothill community, especially on trash day.
Some residents said they believe Meatball is the same bear that broke into a refrigerator during an earlier visit and swiped several treats, including meatballs.
The bear was released back into the wild, according to Fish and Game officials.