LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KTXL/CNN) - In Lake Tahoe - especially during the tourist season - car break-ins are quite common.
But right now, authorities are not worried about thieves. They are worried about bears.
A bear in search of food broke into and damaged a car.
“It’s pretty devastating,” said Sgt. Dave Hunt, of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.
Most bear encounters involve the animals invading human space in search of food.
That's why garbage containers in the mountains are made to be bear proof.
But bears in this area have learned to open car doors.
The car’s interior light may have scared it off, but opening the door was no challenge.
But once inside the car, they use their natural strength indiscriminately.
Although it may not be a problem for bears to get inside a car, getting out is a different matter. Most interior car handles and locks in a car are meant to be child proof.
Sheriff’s deputies found the bear locked inside.
The bear thrashed around trying to escape.
It also defected and urinated in the vehicle.
"The bear had somehow locked himself inside and broke all the handles off so they couldn't open it from the outside and in most cases where they get stuck in a car, they just tear everything up looking for an exit," Hunt said.
Placer County Sheriff’s deputies said bears are often shy around people, but often will become bold when it comes to food.
If you’re visiting bear country, lock your garbage away and use bear proof containers if they’re around.
And, of course, don't leave food in the car.
Bears can even sniff out crumbs.