Two Jefferson County Deputies received—to use their own words for it—an “interesting call” on the morning of July 12.
The caller was Annie Bruecker, 17, who woke up to find a bear locked inside her car.
“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’,” Bruecker told KDVR.
Deputies Tillman and McLaughlin arrived on the scene and indeed found a bear locked inside the girl’s Subaru, which McLaughlin video recorded on his cellphone. The strange thing was that there was no exterior damage to the car, so it’s a mystery as to how the bear managed to enter, close, and lock the door behind it.
“Here in JeffCo, we’re used to our fair share of animal-related calls. Snakes, marmots, deer, elk, bobcat, bear. We get them all. What’s different is when we can’t figure HOW an animal did what it did,” said the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in a Facebook post.
“They’re smart animals so I wouldn’t doubt if he just opened the door and then let himself in,” Bruecker told KDVR.
Bruecker did admit to not locking the vehicle the night before.
As to what could have lured the bear in, Bruecker said there wasn’t any leftover food in the car that could have attracted the bear. There was an old can of open lemonade, however, and Bruecker suggests the bear may have picked up on the scent of leftover takeout from the day before.
In the video uploaded to YouTube, the two deputies decide the best course of action is to just let the bear out. However, none of the doors could easily open due to the destruction the bear had caused inside the car. The hatch door also wouldn’t open with the key fob button. In the end, Deputy McLaughlin manually opens the hatch door while Deputy Tillman stands by with a shotgun.
The bear was of rather small, suggesting a mother bear may have been nearby.
Fortunately, there was no further incident after letting out the bear, who immediately ran back into the wild.
“He kind of stopped and looked at us like no big deal and took off,” Tillman said.
Bruecker’s car, on the other hand, was another story. In its 20 minutes of confinement, the bear had completely ravaged the car’s interior, leaving no option but to have it towed.
“The whole ceiling was ripped. The plastic sunroof cover was ripped out. My steering wheel was chewed,” Bruecker said. “My neighbor actually described it as someone put a grenade in there and it just went off.”
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s office congratulated the deputies on their success.
“Good work, deputies, and we hope this young bear stays far away from cars in the future!”