A bear is being blamed for a pair of vehicle break-ins at a Kodiak airport, parking lot that resulted in thousands of dollars in damage to a car, officials stated.
The vandalism took place at the Island Air terminal parking lot adjacent to the Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport.
The airport is located at 1427 Airport Way, Kodiak, Alaska.
Vehicle owners Doreen Phillips and Alyssa Brenteson are residents of Akhiok, a village which is about 90 miles from Kodiak.
Brenteson said she had parked her vehicle for two days at the lot and returned to discover a caved-in roof, broken window, ripped seats, and muddy bear prints and fur covering her vehicle.
An estimate figured out that Brenteson’s car suffered $15,000 in damages, she stated.
Brenteson said she noticed Phillips’ car experienced the same damage two days later.
The Island Air lot is close to a wooded area and separate from the long-term parking lot at the airport, which charges $5 on a daily basis. Brenteson and Phillips use the free parking area while making frequent trips to purchase groceries and do other errands, they stated.
The vandalism was not usual because of a lack of fragrant items such as food or trash, which is a feature common to bear break-ins, stated Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist Nate Svoboda.
“It’s kind of strange for a bear to break in if there was nothing else to attract it,” Svoboda stated.
There have been no less than five reports of bears going into vehicles in Kodiak since the beginning of 2019, Svoboda stated.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers are probing whether the break-ins are the work of a single, repeat offender.
“We live in a place where we have to be more careful of bears breaking in than humans,” Phillips added.