A massive, 500-pound bear, nicknamed ‘Hank the Tank’, who reportedly broke into and damaged 38 homes, has been exonerated due to DNA evidence. California Fish & Wildlife was planning to put the beast down, as he had become too comfortable around humans, creating a danger to the people of the South Lake Tahoe community he was accused of terrorizing.

Hank the Tank was accused another break-in last week, but DNA evidence pulled from the scene proved that the culprit was, in fact, a female bear, which prompted officials to look back at the DNA collected from break-ins over the last several months. Rather than pointing solely to Hank the Tank, the evidence showed two other male bears, and one female, were responsible for more than 30 of the break-ins. Furthermore, according to Fish & Wildlife, Hank may not have caused ANY of the break-ins, leaving him completely innocent. The BEAR League, who have been fighting to keep Hank alive, are celebrating his freedom.

“Hank no longer has a death sentence hanging over him and he is no longer going to have his freedom taken away from him by sending him to a sanctuary. We fully support this decision and are grateful for the investigation into the truth that was taken seriously by the experts within our CA DFW.” The BEAR League.

Hank the Tank never deserved to be accused of such horrid crimes, and the public certainly agreed. Hank’s story went viral over the past few weeks, resulting in the South Lake Tahoe Police Department’s phone lines being flooded with calls for his freedom and nationwide, if not worldwide, support for the bear. Hank the Tank deserves his celebrity status after what he’s been through. I hope he lives a healthy and happy life full of plenty of food (though maybe not as much as he’s currently getting, it might be worth it for him to loose a few pounds…).

Image Credit: CBS Sacramento on YouTube