Police see rise in bears getting stuck in cars

SACRAMENTO (KTXL) -- In the last two weeks, police say three bears have become trapped in cars in Truckee.

The most recent case happened late Sunday night in the Glenshire neighborhood, according to Truckee Police. Officers couldn’t find the car’s owner, so they smashed the window to let the animal out.

Another bear found itself stuck in a car last week. It was let out by the car’s owner, police say.

“At one point, the dome light was flashing on and off, the horn was honking. The headlights were going on and off,” said Scott Williamson.

Williamson is one of the neighbors who investigated the commotion and called 9-1-1.

“Right as I approached the driver’s side door, the bear head-butted the window, and the window came out about that far. I cannot believe it didn’t break,” Williamson said.

Officers arrived on scene shortly after that.

“They tried the door handles. They found the bear had actually locked himself in the car … They ended up breaking the window of the car so the bear could get out,” said Sgt. John Mon Pere with the Truckee Police Department.

It worked. The bear ran off into the woods. The car, which belongs to Kaili Sanchez and Craig Strom, was thrashed.  It’s now at a body shop near Reno.  They were in bed sound asleep while the whole ordeal was going on in front of their home.

“It’s kind of sad to see your car get trashed like that. But on the other hand, you live in an area where there are wild animals … It just kind of happens sometimes,” Sanchez said.

Experts say bears know how to open unlocked car doors, so it’s best to lock your car and not leave anything “smelly” inside.