By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
Ask any good burglar. A nicer home can mean better loot.
Someone must have tipped off the animal world to this as the same home in Aspen, Colorado (where the average home is valued at $5.4 million) has been burglarized three times by bears in the last two years — twice in the last month.
Colorado wildlife officials say the latest break-in and theft occurred on Monday evening when a bear broke through an unlocked upstairs window.
The bear knew enough to head down to the kitchen to grab a snack before the homeowner was able to get the thief out of the house.
Apparently, the owner of the ritzy home had an airhorn handy and blasted it causing the bear to crash through a window in the basement to escape.
Luckily that bear has not found by Colorado Parks and Wildlife — yet. The last bear-burglar suffered the ultimate penalty when it was put down shortly after a July 24 break-in to the same house.
Back in 2019, another bear (although it could have been a repeat offender) busted through dead-bolted French doors to get to the fridge.
Authorities said the individuals living in the neighborhood, for the most part, do a good job of bear-proofing their properties.
“They do not have any unnatural attractants out and it was good to see they had the airhorn available for them to use last night. This in part is an aspect of living in bear country, but also in part learned behavior by that bear,” a spokesman said.
“If 95 percent of your community is doing everything right to live appropriately in bear country, but the other five percent is not, that is enough to habituate bears and their behavior can escalate to where they break into homes looking for food,” he said.
Now is especially a vulnerable time for bears because they’re beginning to pork-out to prepare for hibernation.
“Bears are entering hyperphagia – where they eat 20,000 calories each day to fatten up for winter. For up to 20 hours per day, they’ll be following their noses for easy, calorie-packed meals,” the department said.
Noted Wyoming outdoorsman Paul Ulrich said when people choose to live in bear country, it is critical they act responsibly.
“You gotta remember their sense of smell,” Ulrich said. “It’s incredible.”
“I remember when a friend of mine in Wapiti left a box of Froot Loops out on his patio. His security camera caught a grizzly horking down that cereal like a fat kid on an ice cream sandwich.”