Bear bursts into rental store

The Associated Press
Saturday June 02, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — A 200-pound black bear crashed through a glass door and was holed up in a Hertz rental store in Salinas for 4.5 hours Friday before police officers closed off the street, surrounded the building and tranquilized the animal. 

“We put up this big wrought iron fence eight feet high. The idea was to keep people out, but that sucker just jumped up on that thing and took about two seconds to just scale it,” said Quetzal Grimm, Hertz Equipment Rental branch manager. “He fell on the ground and then just bolted through one of the bottom panes of our doors.” 

Grimm said the bear was not injured and was eventually found hiding beneath some doors leaning against a wall. 

The sedated bear was carried from the store and taken by state Department of Fish and Game officials to be released into the wild. 

Grimm said the glass door was the only thing damaged during the ordeal. 

“He’s like the original Gentle Ben,” Grimm said. “It was amazing, and you can’t even say anything about it. It’s like, ’There’s a bear in your office!’ ” 

Salinas Police Sgt. Roger Milligan said everyone involved took extra precautions not to harm the bear, following an incident last week where another black bear climbed a tree in downtown Carmel.  

That bear fell 70 feet to its death after being shot with a tranquilizer dart. The bear suffered a ruptured liver, abdominal bleeding, broken ribs and a torn lung in the fall. 

Milligan said Friday’s incident was a first in his 27 years with the department. 

“I’ve had to deal with cows and steers and cattle, but not bears,” he said.