The Bear Facts – Hungry Diner Causes Over $4000 in Damages

 In Domestic, opinion

Originally told by KREM Spokane – $4,000 in damages resulted from a hungry diner who snagged a Tupperware container full of beef stew from a vehicle in Sandpoint, Idaho. Of course, it wasn’t your ordinary hungry person that stole the stew, it was a black bear.

hungry diner

File Photo – What’s for dinner?

Vivan Swanson was awakened by her three dogs barking up a storm. She got up and walked over to the front door to see what was happening. She noticed  the interior light of her car was on and immediately thought it was a car burglar.

“The light was on in my car, and I was immediately petrified because I was alone.” Vivian Swanson

She had left her purse in the car. When she got outside, the door was open and the car was torn to bits, but the purse was still where she left it.

It wasn’t until that moment that she realized the only thing gone was her daughter’s Tupperware bowl that had beef stew in it. Then she saw the scratches and chomp marks on the car and in the interior. Though she had seen bears on her property previously, she never though one would attack her car. Well, when you’re hungry….


Someone was hungry- KREM photo


A little seat chomp – KREM photo





















Swanson says the damages are $4,600 from the patronage of the bear at the stewfest. It likely hunted for an open door, but even a locked car would probably not have stopped it from getting in. Bears are pretty powerful critters, even a small black bear.

She says she has learned her lesson,and will no longer be leaving food in her car. She also thinks locking her doors will help. But for a Black bear that thinks it’s Goldilocks…that is a doubtful scenario.

Bears are smart, and their noses are shall we say WAY more sensitive than humans, and about 7 times more sensitive than a dog. They can smell food up to a mile away.

Bears messing with vehicles is actually  relatively common, particularly for campers who leave food inside their vehicles or tents. Even inside a cooler the bear can find food.  Always double bag (heavy plastic) food inside a cooler, and make sure none of the food has a strong smell. Even garbage should be carefully packed to keep the smell away. And don’t leave the coolers in your tent – or you may have a late night visitor.

Ms. Swanson was lucky it was only a black bear. Grizzly Bears live just north of Sandpoint in the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountain ranges. One of those would have made a much larger mess.


This Chevrolet Monte Carlo was actually ripped apart far worse than Ms. Swanson’s car. The bear pried the door open.

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