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Black bear found stuck inside car in Cornwall, Connecticut

The bear left the inside of one car completely destroyed and another with damage to the back seat.

CORNWALL, Conn. — A Cornwall resident got an unsuspecting intruder Friday night, as a black bear managed to get stuck inside his mother-in-law's car. 

Cody Gillotti said he was home when he noticed light coming from outside. He went outside and found his mother-in-law's lights on, the driver's side door of his truck open, and his daughter's car seat on the ground.

"I had no idea there was a bear in there," he said. "We get bears all the time but never in cars."

He went to his truck first and then over to the other vehicle where he spotted the animal. He called the game warden and they tried pulling a car door open with a rope, but the bear had locked itself in.

Gillotti said the bear then busted the door open and ran off.

"He was huge. One of the biggest I’ve ever seen," he said. "He looked like he got caught doing something wrong. It almost seemed like he thought if he didn’t move we wouldn’t see him."

His car has damage to the backseat. He said his mother-in-law's car is totaled.

Credit: Cody Gillotti
Interior of Cody Gillotti's mother-in-law's car that was destroyed by a bear.

The doors were unlocked in both vehicles. He said there wasn't anything outside for the bear which may have been why he ventured inside the cars.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says bears are attracted to garbage, pet food, compost piles, fruit trees, and birdfeeders. Here are tips from DEEP:

  • Remove birdfeeders and bird food from late March through November.
  • Eliminate food attractants by placing garbage cans inside a garage or shed. Add ammonia to trash to make it unpalatable.
  • Clean and store grills in a garage or shed after use. (Propane cylinders should be stored outside.)
  • Do not feed bears. Bears that become accustomed to finding food near your home may become "problem" bears.
  • Do not approach or try to get closer to a bear to get a photo or video.
  • Do not leave pet food outside overnight.
  • Do not add meat or sweets to a compost pile.
  • Do not store leftover bird seed or recyclables in a porch or screened sunroom as bears can smell these items and will rip screens to get at them.

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Daniel Dashefsky is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. He can be reached at ddashefsky@fox61.com.

Tony Black is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tblack@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. 

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