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Bear loose in suburban Phoenix is finally captured

MESA, Ariz. — Wildlife managers say they believe the black bear that eluded capture in a Phoenix suburb earlier this week finally has been caught.

The bear was captured Christmas morning in the back yard of an empty home in eastern Mesa.

Authorities spotted the animal around 5 a.m. and followed it to a neighborhood. They set up a perimeter, and a wildlife officer shot it with a tranquilizer dart.

Arizona Game and Fish Department spokeswoman Amy Burnett said the bear — a 125-pound male that’s about 2 to 3 years old — likely will be relocated to the Tonto National Forest after it’s evaluated.

It was first spotted Monday bounding through an alfalfa field but proved elusive after entering a tree- and shrub-filled area. Officials say the sighting is rare for the Phoenix metro area.