KODIAK, ALASKA — There’ve been a couple of break-ins at the Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport in Alaska recently, but an armed bandit isn’t the one to blame.
According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, a bear has been named responsible for a pair of vehicle break-ins that resulted in thousands of dollars in damage to one car.
Vehicle owners Doreen Phillips and Alyssa Brenteson are both residents of Akhiok, a village about 90 miles from Kodiak.
Brenteson parked her car for two days at the lot earlier this month and returned to find a caved-in roof, broken window, ripped seats and muddy bear prints and fur covering her car.
It’s estimated that there was US$15,000 worth of damages in total.
Phillips’ car experienced similar damage just two days later.
The Island Air lot is near a wooded area and separate from the long-term parking lot at the airport, which charges $5 per day. Both women use the free parking area while making regular trips to buy groceries and do other errands, they said.
The vandalism was unusual because of a lack of fragrant items such as food or trash, which is a feature common to bear break-ins, said Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist Nate Svoboda.
“It’s kind of odd for a bear to break in if there was nothing else to attract it,” he said.
There have been five reports of bears going into vehicles in Kodiak since the beginning of the year, added Svoboda.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers are investigating whether the break-ins are the work of a single, repeat offender.
Said Phillips: “We live in a place where we have to be more aware of bears breaking in than humans.”
With file from The Associated Press