You’ve heard how authorities use DNA to nail scofflaws for a variety of misdeeds, well sometimes DNA can absolve a suspected offender … and that’s the case with Hank the Tank.
This poor bear was about to be euthanized for allegedly breaking into at least 28 homes in South Lake Tahoe in search of food. Authorities believed Hank was the culprit, and they were taking steps to possibly kill the bear.
Here’s how it all went down. There was another bear break-in last Friday and the immediate thought was to pin it on Hank the Tank. A DNA test was performed and low and behold, the bear burglar was a female who was on file with the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, so Hank was in the clear.
The good folks at the DFW decided to look into the other break-ins Hank was accused of and discovered in their investigation and through DNA evidence that 3 other bears — two being female — were responsible for many of them. They are unsure how many can be pinned on Hank, due to DNA not being available for all of the break-ins. The DFW was relying on police reports and witness statements of property owners, who may have falsely identified Hank.
So authorities have now had a change of heart, and Peter Tira — a spokesperson for the Department of Fish and Wildlife — tells us no bear will be euthanized or even relocated. As for how they’ll deal with the situation in the future … well, bear with us. We’re told they’ll be setting traps to collect DNA, and then tag and release the bears back into the wild.