Bears destroy Subaru in Steamboat Springs | SummitDaily.com

Bears destroy Subaru in Steamboat Springs

Matt Stensland / Steamboat Pilot

A bear broke into a Subaru Outback in the Tree Haus neighborhood just outside Steamboat Springs on Sunday.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Residents are being reminded to lock their car doors after a black bear broke into a Subaru Outback and destroyed it.

“It’s the worst one we’ve ever seen,” said Custom Color owner Dave Mihaich, who, over the years, has done work on cars that were damaged by bears.

Cate Potyen, who lives in the Tree Haus neighborhood just outside Steamboat Springs, got a text message Monday morning from a neighbor who wanted to know if her Subaru was OK.

She went outside and found one of the doors was open, and a door panel was lying on the ground.

“That’s pretty much all I know,” Potyen said.

She later learned that the previous night a neighbor heard the Subaru’s horn going off.

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Potyen and her husband are moving to California in three weeks and are having to deal with a destroyed 2015 Subaru Outback that only had 24,000 miles.

“This was really inconvenient timing,” Potyen said.

Mihaich said this is the first car he has seen this year with bear damage.

“The stink in there alone is ‘wow,'” Mihaich said. “It’s not even drivable. It’s a mess.”

Mihaich estimated the damage at nearly $17,000, which totals the car. The insurance company will likely put the car out for salvage.

It is not unheard of for a black bear to break into a car in search of food in Steamboat, especially a Subaru. Bears are able to slip their paws behind the Subaru handles to open the doors.

Steamboat resident Jessica Scroble had her Subaru destroyed in 2016.

In this particular case, the only food-like item in the vehicle was a container of sugar-free mints.

“It doesn’t take much,” Mihaich said.

For some reason, after a bear enters a car, the door frequently closes and the bear freaks out because it is trapped inside.

In the most recent incident, the bear was able to get out on its own, but it trashed the car while doing so.

Door panels are ripped off, wiring is destroyed and the bear even chewed up the dashboard.

“Maybe it was just hungry,” Potyen said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.