86-year-old man wakes up to bear breaking in to his home

WTNH photo
WTNH photo

BRANFORD, CT (WTNH) — A Branford black bear did some damage and woke up Matthew Gailey, 86, and his wife after it broke into their home around 3:00 a.m. about two weeks ago.

The Gailey garden became a feast for the bear. He ate six watermelons. Then, he ate some summer squash. But he was still hungry.

“I realized we might have a bigger problem,” said Gailey.

Three trash cans filled with bird seed were knocked over, and a bag of it was torn apart.

“I’m not interested in shooting a bear, let’s put it that way,” Gailey said.

Gailey says he thinks the bear came over the fence and got right into his composter. The bear then took down the bird feeders, but he even got more brazen.

“Then I had found out the bear had already broken in,” said Gailey.

He ripped out their beagle’s dog door and clawed his way into the bathroom–Gailey showed a WTNH reporter the scratch marks on the wall.

“He got stuck trying to get around the doorway in the john,” Gailey said.

He called Branford police who say they’ve seen a spike in bear sightings in the Stoney Creek neighborhood in the past month.

“I suggested it was breaking and entering, but they (police) didn’t see it that way,” said Gailey with a laugh.

Environmental officials have a picture of the bear they think it is. They estimate he’s 200 pounds and just looking for food. They’re asking neighbors to keep any trash and bird feeders indoors. About a week ago the state set up a trap on Gailey’s lawn–complete with sugary doughnuts.

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