The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office is stressing the importance of locking up vehicles at night as bears are out and about this time of year.

South Lake Tahoe deputies said that bears are "very adept" and can even unlock cars to look for food.

Bears will usually leave vehicles unharmed for the most part, but sometimes they can cause a lot of damage, especially if they lock themselves in, like one unfortunate truck owner experienced on April 16th.

"I looked and there was a bear in the passenger seat just trying to get out of the car," said Jack Young, a South Lake Tahoe resident.

Young accidentally left his truck door unlocked while he was out of town. The sheriff's office was able to help the bear escape without harm, but the same couldn't be said about the vehicle.

"The bear inside your car gets panicked, starts pulling on things and will quickly destroy the interior of a car," said Sgt. Michael Seligsohn with the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.

The severe damage has left Young with one less car to drive but he now has one more message for his Tahoe neighbors.

"Lock your car doors, lock your house doors," said Young.

The sheriff's office encourages residents to take action to prevent bears from breaking into cars, homes and garages. If the community doesn't do their part, deputies will step in and will use loud noises and bean bag ammunition to scare the animal away.

"It's an aversion technique, it trains the bear that they do not want to come into conflict with us," said Seligsohn.

For more information, follow the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office page here: