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

BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A Connecticut 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 on Whiting Farms Road.

The Gailey garden became a feast for the bear. He ate six watermelons. Then, he ate summer squash.

“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 this fence, got right into his composter. Still hungry, 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 this bathroom.

“He got stuck trying to get around the doorway in the jon,” 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 this trap complete with sugary doughnuts.

“No reason to be scared if he’s not coming at you. Don’t excite him,” he adds.

Good advice considering the bear population is increasing across the state and all of them are trying to pack on pounds to hibernate soon.

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