WATCH: Trapped Black Bear Destroys Inside of Car in Colorado

by Jon D. B.

It took both a Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer and a sheriff’s deputy to safely remove the black bear from the Douglas County car after a raucous hour.

What do you get when you combine endless curiosity and a voracious appetite? The American black bear! One Colorado car owner found this out the hard way last week – though thankfully they nor the bear were injured. And it all may boil down to a simple case of beer.

The vehicle in question sat parked in Douglas County, Colorado, with the beer sitting in the back seat. Wildlife officials believe this alone was enough to entice the black bear into the car. From there, things escalated quickly.

The confused, hungry ursine found its way into the human contraption just fine. Finding a way out, however is an entirely different matter. For an hour, the black bear would struggle to escape to no avail – absolutely shredding the car’s interior in the process.

“He was just doing what they do, which is just kind of pinballing around in there, trying to figure his way out,” says District Wildlife Manager Casey Westbrook of the situation. Westbrook spoke to local FOX 31 of the incident, which you can watch below – alongside viewing several images from the aftermath.

The black bear‘s confusion led to the shredding of a door and the entire ceiling of the car’s ceiling. As for the beer, well, it sustained only bruises. Apparently the treat was in no way worth the claustrophobic experience.

It was Westbrook himself, alongside a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy, who were able to eventually free the frightened black bear. They did so by tying a rope to one of the car’s door handles. Once secure, the officers gave the wild animal solid clearance before opening his door to freedom.

“They’re just looking for an escape route so once that door opened he was looking for the nearest way out of there with no people,” Westbrook adds. 

Black Bear Break-Ins Aren’t Uncommon

While the encounter may come as a shock to some, those who live in bear country know that these sorts of “break-ins” aren’t all that uncommon. In fact, close to 500 car break-ins by bears (nearly all black bears) took place in Colorado between 2019 and 2021, FOX 31 cites of their state.

Similar incidents are commonplace in other black bear territories, too. A few weeks ago, Georgia teacher Mary Jane Yarbrough came to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to take a week-long class. An art teacher, she did so in order to feel better prepared for her students come fall.

What was to be a lovely week in the Smokies, however, turned into an encounter she’ll never forget. Yarbrough woke up the morning of June 2nd to the sound of a car horn blaring repeatedly – only to find it was her car horn due to the black bear inside her vehicle.

Unlike this Colorado story, though, the teacher managed to film much of her harrowing encounter. She did so before calling the police for assistance – but not in time to save the interior of her Camry.

“He ripped the dash, my airbag, the radio is out, he went through my glove box…” she details in her own incredible black bear story.

Better a car as a foe for a black bear, however, than a grizzly bear.