JASPER, Ga. -- Margaret and Randy Arnold frequently see bears when they travel to Jasper. But those bears usually don't end up in the driver's seat of their car.

CLOSER LOOK | Photos of bears in car

Margaret was up early cooking breakfast for her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.

"I looked out and I saw bears in the driveway, which was just about 12 to 15 feet from the window," she said. She turned to grab the camera when her husband started yelling.


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"I was screaming the bears are in the car! They're in the car!" Randy remembers with a laugh. "That was the most surprising thing about this whole adventure was how easily the bear opened the door."

The bigger bear, estimated at 300 pounds, opened the back passenger door, then crawled into the front seat. She opened the middle console, and then the side pocket. Meanwhile, a smaller bear, possibly her cub, opened the driver's side door.

"It wasn't unusual to see bears. What was unusual was that the bear walked over and opened the door like she rehearsed it a thousand times," Randy said. "She's already taught that cub how to open doors and what to look for."

The only damage to the car were some scratches to the paint near the handles.

"We were just flabbergasted because we didn't realize a car with its doors closed was so susceptible to a bear getting inside," Randy said.

Despite the minor damage to their car, the couple enjoyed what they called "the adventure". "This was a close encounter and we certainly did enjoy it," Maragaret said.

Their advice to those venturing into North Georgia: lock your cars. Randy also said they were contacted by a sheriff's deputy. "He wanted a copy of the photo," Randy said. "They'd had a series of car break-ins reported. He told the people it was probably bears, but they didn't believe him." Maybe they will now.

Margaret says the bears didn't find anything. But she as a theory about that: "I think they smelled the bacon frying and they were disappointed they didn't find any bacon or eggs in there."

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