Chad Atherton heard what he thought was someone breaking into his pickup truck early Sunday morning in a remote area of Coquitlam.
When the quarry manager exited the trailer on his gated work site around four a.m., he saw that the suspect was a very large black bear.
“All hell broke loose ’cause he’d locked himself in my pickup,” Atherton told Global News.
The doors of his quad cab truck were closed but unlocked when somehow the bear managed to open one and jump in.
As the bear proceeded to trash the inside of the truck, Atherton called 911 – telling dispatchers, “I’ve got a bear stuck in my pickup and he’s going ballistic.”
Coquitlam RCMP say the bear’s crime spree started about half an hour earlier a few blocks away. Officers received a call around 3:30 a.m. Sunday about a bear trying to break in to a home in the 4000-block of Quarry Road.
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After its attempt to enter the home failed, the bear moved on to two vehicles in the driveway – breaking into one of them and eating a box of cinnamon buns that was left inside.
RCMP say the bear then wandered down the street and broke into what turned out to be Atherton’s truck – where it got stuck and “ate the inside.”
“I guess he had a temper tantrum in there,” Sgt. Jeff Milliard told Global News.
The bear defecated inside the truck before smashing a window to get out.
RCMP say their prime suspect was gone when officers arrived on scene – but based on “forensic evidence” left in the truck, they determined it was the same bear who feasted on cinnamon buns during the earlier vehicle break-in.
Atherton says the bear went on a tear in his truck – destroying the inside doors, dashboard, headrest and seats before smashing a window in its getaway.
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“You can hear him literally ripping the truck apart,” said Atherton when describing video he captured of the incident.
Atherton has seen a lot of bears in his five years living and working at the quarry – but has never experienced anything like this.
“They are getting smart,” he said.
“This takes it to a level I’ve never seen.”
The BC Conservation Officer Service is investigating both bear break-ins and Sgt. Todd Hunter told Global News a trap has been set for the bear, which is clearly habituated to humans and requires removal.
Hunter says conservation officers have seen a large increase in human and wildlife conflicts in Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam in just the last month – and are urging people to keep food and other attractants secured and out of vehicles.
RCMP are also reminding the public to lock the doors to vehicles and homes.