LAKE TAHOE (CBS) — Cars may be common targets for thieves, but the culprits usually walk on two legs.

That was not the case this weekend in Lake Tahoe when a black bear broke into a Prius and took it for a joy ride.

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The owner and her son watched through their window, while the animal struggled to escape.

“He just wants to get out, so he’s thrashing around and kind of growling,” said Cece McCarthy. “It’s amazing how strong that bear was.”

The bear tore the interior to pieces and in the process engaged the gear shift. The vehicle then rolled backwards down the driveway, running over several boulders.

“In the chaos of him thrashing around inside the car, he pulled back the gearshift, which is a pretty hard task to do,” said the owner’s son, Dylan.

“These boulders are huge and to have him flying over these boulders, it’s just like, whoa,” she said.

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The car did not fair well in the incident — it was totaled.

“It’s just wreckage. It’s the metal shell of what was once our car,” Dylan said.

The vehicle finally came to a stop after slamming into a neighbor’s front porch.

“By the time he got that car in gear he was just getting desperate,” she said.

The bear managed to get free after about 30 minutes inside the car. The four-legged “suspect” was gone by the time authorities arrived.

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“When the sheriff got there he reported it as a burglary,” Dylan said.