STATELINE, Nev. — A bear cub drew a crowd of spectators at a Lake Tahoe neighborhood as it munched on barbecue-chicken-and-jalapeño pizza in the back seat of a vintage red Buick convertible.
It also apparently washed it down with a swig of a Jack Daniel's mixer, an Absolut vodka and tonic, and a beer taken from a cooler, the vehicle's owner said.
About 30 people watched the cub lumber around a parking lot in upper Kingsbury Grade on Sunday before it homed in on the Buick and the spicy pizza on the floor.
The bruin was unfazed by the car's horn that blew nonstop as the cub pressed the seat into the steering wheel.
"The bear was loping along in the parking lot and then decides to get inside the car," said resident Jerry Patterson.
Oblivious in a ’64 Skylark
"People were screaming at him, the horn was going off, but he was completely unaware. He did what he wanted to do, and the people didn't matter."
The bear remained inside the 1964 Buick Skylark for about 20 minutes and at times put his paws on the dash as if he were holding on for a ride, Patterson said.
The owner of the car, David Ziello of South Lake Tahoe, said the bruin didn't cause any damage but slopped cheese and jalapeños on the seats and floor.
Carl Lackey, a biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, said up to two dozen bears live in the Kingsbury region near the south shore of Lake Tahoe.
Like bees to honey
The residential area sees more of them because the bears have found a primary source from Dumpsters and people who leave their food and trash in the open, said Lackey, who tracks and relocates bears on the Nevada side of the Tahoe basin.
Lackey warned visitors and residents against keeping food inside their vehicles.
"When you are in bear habitat, regardless of the time of year, you cannot leave any kind of food out — whether it's food inside the car, trash inside or outside your car, or pet food," Lackey said.
"Bears will find it and in doing so, it is increasing your chances of serious conflict."
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