GENESSEE, Colo. – Two Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies caught a wild encounter on camera after a bear broke into a car in Genessee.
Annie Bruecker called 911 on Tuesday morning after waking up to a frightening situation.
“He’s tossing stuff in the back basically and then you can see the ceilings of my car just ripped and I was like, I’m not going to work today,” the 17-year-old said.
Deputies Tillman and McLaughlin arrived to find the bear still locked inside the girl’s Subaru. McLaughlin recorded video of the encounter on his cellphone. The video shows the bear moving from the front to the back, breathing on the glass and pawing at a window.
Tillman said the bear was “jumping from the back to the front running around as much as he could destroying about everything trying to get out.”
“How did he get in? I don’t see a broken window,” McLaughlin can be heard saying on the video.
The vehicle didn’t have any exterior damage or broken windows, but Bruecker admits she didn’t lock it when she came home Monday night.
“They’re smart animals so I wouldn’t doubt if he just opened the door and then let himself in,” Bruecker said.
Bruecker said she did not leave any food in her car that could have attracted the bear. There was an old can of open lemonade, but she believes the bear could still smell her takeout she had the day before.
The bear destroyed the inside of the vehicle and Bruecker had to have it towed. Damage from a wild animal is considered an “Act of God” according to some car insurance agencies, but Bruecker wasn’t sure what she was going to do about a car going forward.
“The whole ceiling was ripped. The plastic sunroof cover was ripped out. My steering wheel was chewed,” she said. “My neighbor actually described it as someone put a grenade in there and it just went off.”
“Imagine about as much destructing as you can imagine in a car. He ripped door panels off. He tore the steering wheel off,” Tillman said.
From the time deputies arrived, the bear spent about 20 minutes in the car until it was freed. One of the deputies popped the handle on the latch and the bear pushed his way out.
“He kind of stopped and looked at us like no big deal and took off,” Tillman said.
Tillman said he has never had to deal with a bear up close before and doesn’t care to be that close again, but this rescue couldn’t have ended any better.
“It was kind of a humorous situation, to be honest with you. He didn’t appear in danger. He didn’t appear harmed and he just looked like a dog in the car jumping back and forth,” he said.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office wants to remind people to lock car doors so bears can't get inside.
"Good work, deputies," the sheriff's office said. "[We] hope this young bear stays far away from cars in the future."