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'There's a bear in the van': How a Port Moody family's vehicle was torn apart by an early-morning visitor

The bear may have been attracted by a snack bar inadvertently left inside the 10-year-old Honda Odyssey
A screen grab shows some of the damage caused by a bear that broke into Leanne Cederberg's van early Sunday morning.

A Port Moody woman says she bears no ill will toward the visitor that destroyed the interior of her family’s van early Sunday morning.

Leanne Cederberg was overnighting in Vancouver with her husband after celebrating his 50th birthday when their eldest son, Logan, called at 5 a.m. asking where she stashed the van’s extra keys.

“There’s a bear in the van,” he said. “The police are on their way.”

A video Logan shot shows the animal through the fogged windows of the 10-year-old Honda Odyssey parked in the carport of their April Road home, gnawing and pawing at the interior.

Cederberg said her son waited for police to arrive before they attempted to free the bear and with a blast from their siren, send it scampering unharmed into the nearby woods.

The havoc the bear left behind, though, was “insane,” said Cederberg, adding she had likely left the van unlocked before heading into the city.

The interior panels of both front doors were torn apart, exposing insulation and wiring. The console was pulled up, the visors askew, upholstery stained and the van’s entire back area thrashed asunder.

The bear also peed and defecated inside the vehicle.

Cederberg said the smell was indescribable.

“It’s so pungent, it smells like the dump,” she said. “I can’t imagine the smell would ever leave.”

Cederberg said her home is visited by bears often, given its proximity to the forest on Port Moody’s north shore, and they’re careful about keeping any possible attractants securely stowed. But a Made Good snack bar inadvertently stashed in a seat back by one of her kids may have been all it took to lure the hungry ursine searching for an easy meal.

“I love bears,” she said. “I live in their forest so you just have be super vigilant and careful.”

As for the fate of the family van, Cederberg said the ICBC adjuster was incredulous when she called to file her claim. The vehicle will have to be towed for further assessment to determine if it can even be repaired.

In the meantime, Cederberg is driving a rental vehicle and sparing a thought for the stress and fear the bear must have felt once it got trapped.

“I have so much compassion,” she said. “I hope it scared him off far away.”