GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WJZY) — It took three-and-a-half minutes for a bear to invade the Pinnix family cabin grounds in Gatlinburg, break into one of the vehicles, and steal a bag of popcorn, all as the family watched.
Teniesh Pinnix, from Caswell County, North Carolina, said the experience left them “shocked” and full of lessons learned on how to prevent bear invasions.
The encounter happened Saturday morning in a cabin outside the city limits of Gatlinburg during the family’s vacation.
Pinnix told News 2’s sister station, WJZY, that she was outside on the front porch when she heard a sound come from a collection of bushes near the property.
“I thought to myself, ‘I know that ain’t no squirrel making no noise like that,'” she said. “I looked over, and I thought, ‘Oh Lord, it’s a bear.'”
She pulled out her phone to capture, on video, what the bear did next.
“I was shocked,” explained Pinnix.
The bear walked to four vehicles the family had parked in the driveway and pulled on the handles.
In the video, Pinnix kept repeating how “insane” the whole situation was.
“I’m from Caswell County, and there are some strange animals out there, but I have never seen a bear,” she said.
On its fourth attempt, the bear was able to get inside an unlocked van and hop inside.
The bear was in and out within 20 seconds with a bag of popcorn.
Pinnix said the family later learned that the bear had gone inside another vehicle to steal a bag of chips.
The Caswell County woman said, while funny, the whole experience has left a large lesson imprinted on her and her family.
According to Pinnix, “no snacks, no food, no nothing. Don’t go leaving anything in your car.”