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Bear ransacks van, raids kitchen in North Carolina

By Ben Hooper

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A North Carolina woman who unknowingly closed a bear inside her van said the bruin escaped through a window and raided a neighbor's kitchen.

Nicole Minkin Lissenden said she was visiting her parents' house in Asheville while they were out of town during the weekend.

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Lissenden said the doors of her 2008 Honda Odyssey had been left unlocked and a friend who was passing by stopped to tell her the door was open and there was trash on the ground next to her vehicle.

The woman said it wasn't until after she had closed the door that she realized a bear was inside.

"I certainly didn't think it was in the car, so I closed the door at that point and went back inside," Lissenden told the Asheville Citizen Times. "About 30 minutes later, I went back out to get something out of the car, and I noticed all the windows were fogged up and there were paw prints on the windows."

Lissenden called her husband, Alex Lissenden, and Animal Services to help with the situation. Alex Lissenden quickly discovered the bear had damaged the vehicle too much for the remote-control door opener to work.

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A neighbor, Buster Brown, came to help with the situation, but they were unable to keep any of the doors open for long enough for the bear to escape.

The animal eventually freed itself by popping out the driver's side window. Nicole Lissenden caught the escape on video.

The bear then wandered to Brown's house and ransacked his kitchen.

"The bear went into our house and into our kitchen," Brown's wife, Karen, said. "He went through three drawers and then pulled out some muffin mix. Then he went into the garage to eat it."

The Browns were able to scare the bear away from their property by yelling at it.

Lissenden said she fears the van is totaled.

"He tore all of the kids' car seats out and tore up the seats to the car," she said. "He was just thrashing and clawing trying to get out of that van."

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