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Bears rip toddler's car seat in search of snacks in late-night ransacking of Coquitlam car, garage

Two bears looking for food in a Coquitlam car and garage find a treasure trove of toddler's snacks, and dirty diapers — now conservation officers are asking people to freeze food waste and clean out bins and to store them indoors, if possible

A Coquitlam family had a couple of visitors to their home last week and are still scratching their heads about the encounter.

Now, conservation officers are warning residents to secure their trash — and even wash out garbage cans and freeze food waste — to keep bruins away.

The kerfuffle happened at 3 a.m. on June 10 on 1700-block Arbutus Place while the McQuillan family was asleep in their Westwood Plateau home.

As witnessed by several neighbours, a pair of black bears got into the drivers’ side door of their car — tearing apart a toddler’s car seat while looking for snacks.

The bears then opened the garage where they found stored trash and starting eating that as well.

Fortunately, the family remained asleep throughout the encounter. And it was only after hearing from neighbours and police that they learned about the bears’ visit. 

Even the family’s two pugs slept through the ordeal. 

With his tongue firmly in cheek, Sean McQuillan recounted the event in a series of Tweets.

“The bear managed to find the garbage stored in the garage and had the feast of 1000 toddler leftovers… I'm talking half eaten sandwiches, bell peppers, cracker crumbles, diapers — you name it this bear was in heaven at 2:50 a.m.,” he writes.

“Now the footage is where we learn about everyone on the street with three police cruisers and people staring into our garage with a bear just going to town.”

Also, in the garage were set decorations for the movie industry, including antique lamps. “The bear managed to get the garbage but didn't break a single lamp! So small victories.” he writes.

It’s only in reviewing neighbour’s footage and examining his son’s ripped car seat that McQuillan noted the seriousness of the bear burglary.

What he thought was one bear’s handiwork, turned out to be the work of two.

BC Conservation officers (BCCOS) attended the area after receiving a report from the RCMP; they will be monitoring for similar reports and “respond accordingly.”

Spokesperson Sgt. Todd Hunter recommended that residents secure their attractants, including garbage, pet food and birdseed.

“The COS urges residents in the area to continue to ensure to exhaust all efforts to prevent conflicts from arising,” Hunter said in an email to Tri-City News.

Among the tips for discouraging hungry bruins, Hunter recommends: 

  • Storing garbage in structures where possible
  • Freezing food waste until collection day
  • Cleaning bins out regularly to lessen odours
  • Using air horns to deter bears from the area

This is not the first time a bruin has searched cars for food and gained entrance to a garage or shed.

Last March, a bear ransacked a car in Port Moody in search for food. There was none, but the vehicle owner suspected the bruin may have been lured by the smell of fried chicken that his wife purchased and brought home in the car.

Meanwhile, McQuillan, is still looking for answers.

In a tweet he joked, “After asking the Police if this is a Bearglury or a Bear & Entry they are no longer taking my calls.”