Here's a cautionary tale for hybrid owners: A Prius-owning family in California lost its car to a joy-riding bear

After wedging itself inside the car, the bear became stuck. Frustrated, hungry and mad, it kicked, scratched, bit and tore at the interior of the hybrid, trying to force a way out as easily as it found its way in.

In its behind-the-wheel rampage, the bear ripped open the seats, bit a chunk out of the steering wheel and damaged the Prius' gear box, shifting the car into neutral.

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From the safety of the cabin, the awakened family watched helplessly as the commandeered Prius slowly started rolling out of the driveway.

"Our son was the first one who woke up, and he was watching the bear through the window," [owner Brian] McCarthy said. "We were looking out of our bedroom window and from our view, you could look down and see the bear in the car, and its arms were just flailing all over the place, through the windows and everything."

The driveway was slightly inclined, so the car began picking up speed. The Prius rolled across the street, hopped a small rock wall and finally came to a stop on the porch steps of a neighbor's house.

It's not absolutely clear that the bear was attracted by the Prius' high gas mileage and position as an eco-consciousness status symbol, but what other conclusion could there be? It wasn't open and there wasn't any food in it. He had to have SOME reason to want to get in there so bad.

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