He was not smarter than the a-ver-age bear.
Placer County deputies found the struggling bear, named for the white patch of fur on his chest, early Monday in Kings Beach near Lake Tahoe and recorded the encounter on dashcam video.
The dumpster was locked but the bear managed to get in through a small square opening in the lid designed for dropping in trash, deputies told FOX40 Sacramento.
The footage shared on Twitter showed Deputies Bertoni and Staley unlocking the lid and trying to coax the bear out by lifting the covers. T-Shirt was eventually able to free himself by pushing the lid up with his paws and climbing out.
This wasn’t T-Shirt’s first run-in with the deputies, the department said.
Black bear sightings are common in the area, especially as the weather remains warm in the fall.
"As the season gets longer and the snow doesn't arrive until late in the wintertime, you're gonna see the bears out there," Sgt. Dave Hunt told FOX40.
There are an estimated 30,000 – 40,000 black bears in California, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. It said that while attacks on humans in the state are rare, residents need to always be bear aware.
Deputies reminded residents to always properly dispose of their garbage and, in case of a run-in with a bear, to always give the animal an escape route.