Suffolk, Va. - It's Mother Nature's version of having your car keyed: Claw marks from a young black bear dug into the front of Albert Riddick's Chevy Malibu.
"It was all scratched up. I thought somebody had shot it, so I had to call the police."
Then Riddick got a closer look. The front of his car looked like a crime scene, but not the one he was expecting.
"His footprint was all up here and mud too, and blood," Riddick said. "Looked like they were having a dance on my car."
There are still paw prints in the mud around the 2009 Silver Malibu.
The left side of Riddick's car has some scratches as well. Those aren't as severe.
Police say the bear was most likely trying to get some food that was left inside.
It was also trash night, so that can bring bears out, too.
Riddick has lived at the home on Goodman Street for all of his 68 years.
It's been a while since he's seen a bear.
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Here's what you can do to prevent a bear from coming to your home:
- Secure your garbage: Store garbage indoors in a shed, in a garage, or in a bear-proof container.
- Put garbage out the morning of pick-up, not the night before.
- Pick up pet food. Feed pets only what they will eat in a single feeding or feed them indoors. Remove the food bowl soon after pets finish. Pick up uneaten food. Do not leave food out overnight.
- Remove the bird feeder: Bears consume seed and nuts found in the wild, so bird feeders become a favored target for bears.
- Clean the outdoor grill often.
- Do not put meat scraps or any other strong-smelling food in the compost pile. Consider an enclosed compost bin.
- Do not leave strong-smelling food in your vehicles and pick up and remove ripe fruit from fruit trees and surrounding grounds.