A wild bear in search of food broke in to a local bakery in Colorado on Monday and went on to devour 24 of the store's famous pies, even taking two pastries to go.
Mikaela Lehnert, daughter of the owner of the Colorado Cherry Company, said that the animal somehow found its way into the establishment through a window. She said the bear climbed on top of their oven and helped itself to their pastry products and baking supplies.
While the bear did eat much of the store's pastries, Lehnert said it did not touch the strawberry rhubarb.
The animal was able to avoid detection because the surveillance cameras located inside the bakery are pointed toward the freezer and away from where the bear chose to stay.
The bear left the freezer, which was where many of the baked pies were kept, practically untouched during its evening feast. It exited the store through the window again after it was finished eating.
Lehnert and her mom found their store in a mess the following morning, but the damage to the establishment was minimal, aside from the window that the wild animal broke.
Lehnert said they decided to board the window up just in case another incident occurs in the future, but she fears that the bear might have loved the taste of their pies so much that it might just come back for seconds.
"We have a feeling he knows it's here so he's going to come back," Lehnert said.
This is not the first time one of their stores was broken in to by a wandering bear, according to Lehnert. She said that their store in Loveland, Colorado was also intruded by a bear, which ate its way to many of their pies.
The damages to their store in that incident, however, were much more extensive as the animal broke the main doors and the freezer.
As far as the aftermath of the animal intrusion goes, Lehnert said it even helped their business as news of the hungry bear boosted the popularity of their products.
The Toxicity of Rhubarb
During its late-night meal run, the wild bear was reported to have consumed most of the pies in the Colorado Cherry Company, except for the strawberry rhubarb. This could be because of a natural toxin contained in rhubarb known as oxalate.
Oxalate is found in all of the parts of the rhubarb, especially in the plant's green leaves. Some studies also point to another compound present in the leaves called anthraquinone glycosides that could also cause harmful side effects to people.
The exact cause of poisoning due to rhubarb ingestion is yet to be identified but it is believed that the combination of both oxalate and anthraquinone glycosides could be the most likely cause.
Oxalate is known as the base component of oxalic acid, a substance that is often in producing writing inks, stain removers and metal polishes. When oxalic acid is combined with oxygen, it becomes a bleaching agent.
Common symptoms of oxalic acid ingestion include weakness, burning in the mouth and even death due to cardiovascular collapse. It could also cause a burning sensation in the throat and difficulty breathing.
Photo: Scott Calleja | Flickr