-- A Tennessee woman learned the hard way a valuable lesson about bears -- always keep your car windows closed.
Kathy Gafford, of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, was inspecting cabins in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Monday when she looked down at her car and saw a mother and baby bear had found their way in.
“I’ve always left my windows down. I just took for granted that they would never get in my car,” Gafford told WATE-6 of the bears in the area. “Well, wrong.”
“The baby was sitting in the passenger seat. The mama was sitting in that seat [driver's] looking like she was cruising around, like she was fixing to take off,” she said. “I was carjacked by a bear.”
The bears grabbed Gafford’s purse, as seen in a photo Gafford took that shows the bear leaning out of the car with the purse firmly in its mouth.
The mother bear also found a cooler that Gafford had stocked with her lunch and snacks for the day.
“Mama was the bad one. She was the bad bear,” Gafford said. “She just wanted anything and everything she could find that I had in my car.”
Gafford told WATE-6 she was not scared by the bears and started banging on pans and yelling to scare the animals away.
She also says she will be closing her car windows from now on.
“And I would advise everybody else to do the same,” she said.