DENVER – A bear in a candy store is nothing like a bull in a china shop. At least not this one.
A black bear went in and out of a Colorado candy store multiple times early one July morning, but he used the front door and didn't break a thing.
The bear did, however, steal some treats from the Estes Park store, including English toffee and some chocolate-chip cookies dipped in caramel and milk chocolate called "cookie bears."
Surveillance video at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory showed the bear prying open the door and grabbing some candy near the registers. He took the treats outside and ate them, then returned for more.
The bear made seven trips in about 15 minutes, finally leaving after a passing car apparently scared him away.
Store owner Jo Adams said Wednesday the bear managed to pop open the door because the deadbolt wasn't completely secured.
She said the only evidence her mindful visitor left behind was some dirt on a counter and some paper on the ground. There weren't even any wrappers, so she assumes he ate those too.
"He was very clean and very careful. He ate a lot of candy," said Adams of the bear break-in, first reported by the Estes Park News.
Keeping bears out of human food in homes, garbage cans and cars is an ongoing struggle in Colorado's mountain towns, including Estes Park, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.
A bear that broke into more than one occupied home there was euthanized last month because it posed a danger to people, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said. She said this year's drought is making the intelligent animals even more resourceful in finding food, and success can put them in danger of one day being put down.
Adams said she's a bear lover and doesn't support killing the animals.
"We're in their turf, and you just put up with these things when they happen," she said.