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Police smash car window to free bear trapped inside in California

Chris Riotta

A California black bear had to be freed by police after finding itself trapped inside a car during a hunt for food scraps.

Recently released video by the Placer County Sheriff’s office shows the creature stuck inside a Subaru Outback parked near a campsite at California’s Lake Tahoe.

The bear had so badly mauled the inside of the car that the locks and doors were no longer functioning, according to the sheriff’s office.

An officer broke a back-seat window before quickly stepping away from the vehicle and allowing the animal to escape without suffering any major injuries.

“This little guy got trapped in a car and had to be rescued,” the Placer Sheriff’s Twitter account wrote in a post. "The inside of the car didn’t fare very well. Please don’t leave food in your vehicle when you’re visiting us at #LakeTahoe!”

Bears have been seen recently breaking into homes in the Lake Tahoe area in search of food, causing property damage and occasional harm to residents, according to local news reports and police information.

Still, bear encounters are a common occurrence in the region, as officials repeatedly warn locals and tourists alike to “bear aware” of leaving out food and garbage.

The bear was last seen heading into nearby forest.