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'Nothing a little duct tape won't fix': Bear breaks into northern Ont. woman's car, destroys interior before taking nap

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Car break-ins plague Canadians across the country, but instead of worrying about theft, a northern Ontario woman is cleaning up a big mess that she says will not be covered by insurance after a black bear broke into her Honda Civic and took a nap.

Aftermath of black bear that broke into car in Larder Lake, Ont., leaving behind droppings and a shredded interior. June 11, 2024 (Kayla Seward)

The adult bear has been causing havoc for Kayla Seward of Larder Lake, north of Temiskaming Shores near the Quebec border, since last year, she told CTVNewsNorthernOntario.ca.

"It's done this before," Seward said.

"We had a bear last year break through my car window, so the ministry (of Natural Resources and Forestry) trapped it and relocated it and it came back with revenge."

The bear returned to her off-grid home last week and got into her, her husband's and mother-in-law's cars.

"Apparently, the bears are attracted to foam, that's why they eat four-wheeler seats and stuff I was told," Seward said.

She said last week, her husband's car was being held open by his work gear and the bear chewed the back seat before it left.

Armrest of vehicle chewed by black bear in Larder Lake, Ont. June 3, 2024 (Kayla Seward)

The three- to four-year-old bear is confirmed to be the same bear from the previous year because of its tag, she said.

MNRF tried to retrap it last week but was unsuccessful.

"Last week, the ministry received calls about a nuisance bear in the Larder Lake area," MNRF spokesperson Sarah Fig told CTV News in an email.

"Staff attended the site and attempted to locate the bear over several days."

When the trap was removed, the bear returned and got into her car.

"It used its mouth and pulled the handle and the door must have closed behind it," Seward said.

She said she was woken up by noise around midnight June 11 only to find the large sleepy pest sitting inside her vehicle.

"It's hard to see, but the bear is sleeping in the front passenger seat," Seward said about the video, which appears to show the calm creature nodding off against the exposed yellow driver's seat foam.

Because the bear was stuck inside, she said her husband bravely opened the car door to let it out.

"It popped its head out the door, looked around and saw my husband standing there and took off," Seward said.

"I stayed in the house for that part."

A video she recorded Tuesday morning shows the aftermath of the damage caused by the bruin, including piles of droppings.

Interior of Honda Civic destroyed by black bear that broke inside in Larder Lake, Ont. June 11, 2024 (Kayla Seward)

To add insult to injury, Seward said her auto insurance provider, Belair Direct, told her the damage isn't covered because they didn't "hit the bear."

"I was informed that we're not covered by insurance because we don't have full coverage," she said.

"Nothing a little duct tape won't fix," she said sarcastically in the video showing the car's interior torn to shreds.

Carine Salvi, a spokesperson for Belair Direct, said "the company cannot comment on client specifics, but what we can share is that comprehensive coverage would cover a wide range of damages including those not covered by a collision."

"Comprehensive coverage is optional on your auto insurance policy," Salvi added.

"At Belair Direct, we work with our customers to understand their insurance requirements and find the coverage that best suits them."

Ministry staff returned to her property to conduct a site visit and assess the ongoing situation.

"As of yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, there have been no further sightings," Fig said.

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