Police warn to keep vehicles locked after rash of bear break-ins

AVERY COUNTY, N.C. — Cars are being torn to shreds, causing thousands of dollars in damage, and Avery County investigators say a bear is to blame.

Police in the Village of Sugar Mountain told Channel 9 the bear is finding cars that are unlocked and has figured out how to open the doors.

Wildlife officers believe the bear is looking for food after coming out of hibernation.

A viewer sent Channel 9 photos of several damaged cars, some of them totaled. The viewer told Channel 9 she did have food in her car and that the bear might have gone after it.

There have been five break-ins in the last week, including two Wednesday morning. In at least one of the incidents the bear accidentally locked itself in the vehicle, requiring help from police to free it.

Officers showed Channel 9 dramatic body cam video and said the bear is approximately 400 pounds. In the video, the officer walks up to the car to free the bear from the back seat.

Police have posted warnings on their Facebook page about the bear and are asking people not to leave food in their cars.

Nobody has been hurt.

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