Bear blamed for car dam­age in air­port park­ing lot

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD -

KO­DIAK, ALASKA — A bear has been blamed for a pair of ve­hi­cle break-ins at an Alaska air­port park­ing lot that re­sulted in thou­sands of dol­lars in dam­age to one car, of­fi­cials said.

The vandalism oc­curred at the Is­land Air ter­mi­nal park­ing lot ad­ja­cent to the Ko­diak Benny Ben­son State Air­port, The Fair­banks Daily News-Miner re­ported Wed­nes­day.

Ve­hi­cle own­ers Doreen Phillips and Alyssa Brente­son are both res­i­dents of Akhiok, a vil­lage about 145 kilo­me­tres from Ko­diak. Brente­son parked her car for two days at the lot and re­turned to find a caved-in roof, bro­ken win­dow, ripped seats and muddy bear prints and fur cov­er­ing her car, she said.

An es­ti­mate de­ter­mined Brente­son’s car suf­fered $15,000 (U.S.) in dam­ages, she said. Brente­son no­ticed Phillips’ car ex­pe­ri­enced sim­i­lar dam­age two days later, she said.

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. Brente­son and Phillips 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 U.S. 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,” Svo­boda said.

There have been five re­ports of bears go­ing into ve­hi­cles in Ko­diak since the be­gin­ning of the year, Svo­boda said.

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