SIERRA MADRE, California (KCAL, KCBS) — An uninvited guest surprised a Sierra Madre homeowner as she came home around 2 a.m. Wednesday to find her side door open, the refrigerator door open with food spilled and scattered all over the floor.
A shattered jar of plum sauce pooled on the tile floor, leaving a major identifiable clue ... plum sauce bear paw prints trailing through the kitchen.
Chelsea Mapanda said she knew it was probably a bear, so she said she got right back in her car and called the Sierra Madre Police Department.
"It looks like the baby had a sampler platter, like a Chili's sampler platter. Hmmm a little here, a little there, maybe some of this, not feeling that," said Mapanda of the bear-invasion.
When the police department responded, Mapanada's home exterior looked like a crime scene, with yellow tape establishing a perimeter as officials tried to figure out what was making the wild animal noises.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife arrived on the scene to help. The plum sauce paw prints were used to identify the size and type of the bear, which was estimated to be an approximate 2-year-old, 100 to 200-pound black bear.
"They're preparing for winter, so bears right now are in what we call hyperphagia. So it's a stage where they go through, where their instincts tell them, hey I gotta fatten up, winter's coming. I gotta hibernate," said biologist Mackenzie Rich.
"Bears here in Southern California, they don't hibernate, they don't have that. The cue for hibernation is a lack of resources. We don't get that down here in the same way in Tahoe or Mammoth."
As Mapanda waited outside her home located in the 100 block of Hermosa Avenue, she kept a sense of humor about the situation.
"It's a 'fun' home invasion and at least it's a story for my anniversary. It's exciting. I'm very chaotic, so this situation fits me," she said
The bear reportedly left the home around 8 a.m., most likely returning to the forest area near the neighborhood, with a full belly.