Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bear Claws For Breakfast?

DENVER — A bear got into an empty car, honked the horn and then sent it rolling 125 feet into a thicket, with the bear still inside, a Colorado family said. Seventeen-year-old Ben Story said he and his family were asleep in their Larkspur home, 30 miles south of Denver, when the bear managed to open the unlocked door of his 2008 Toyota Corolla early Friday and climbed inside.

A peanut butter sandwich left on the back seat is probably what attracted the bear, Story said.

"It's not unusual for bears to open unlocked doors to cars and houses in search of food," said Tyler Baskfield, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife. It's also not unusual for bears to rip the doors off of locked vehicles with food inside.

"It happens all the time," he said. "They're very smart."

A full grown bear can rip an adult male to shreds in less than 60 seconds so it's best just to let them take whatever they want, including the vehicle.

Once inside, the bear must have knocked the shifter on the automatic transmission into neutral, sending the car rolling backward down the inclined driveway and into the thicket, Story said. An alternate theory is that the bear intended to drive itself home but got stuck in the thicket.

The door probably slammed shut when the car jolted to a stop, said Baskfield, based on no probative evidence, trapping the bear inside.

Neighbors had called 911, and deputies freed the bear by opening the door with a rope from a distance. It then ran into the woods, apparently deciding that car theft was not its best line of work.

Story said he'll need a new car because the bear trashed the interior while apparently trying to find a way out.

The bear also left what Story called "a present" on the driver's seat, but failed to pay for the peanut butter sandwich or leave a tip.

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