Careful bear burgles Estes Park candy shop

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory/Associated Press
This surveillance-video image provided by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory shows a bear leaving the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store in Estes Park on July 25. The black bear went in and out of the candy at least seven times. He used the front door and didn’t break a thing. He did, however, steal some treats. Enlarge photo

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory/Associated Press This surveillance-video image provided by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory shows a bear leaving the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store in Estes Park on July 25. The black bear went in and out of the candy at least seven times. He used the front door and didn’t break a thing. He did, however, steal some treats.

DENVER – A black bear went in and out of a Colorado candy store several times early one July morning, but it used the front door and didn’t break a thing.

The bear helped itself to some English toffee and chocolate-chip cookies dipped in caramel and milk chocolate “cookie bears.”

Surveillance video at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Estes Park showed the bear prying open the door and grabbing some candy near the registers.

It took the sweets outside and ate them, then returned for more.

The bear made seven trips in about 15 minutes.

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.