Given the debate over granting drivers licenses to illegal aliens in neighboring New York, the timing couldn’t be better for a story about a black bear in New Jersey that could qualify for some lessons in safely operating a motor vehicle.

And, considering the protectionist agenda Governor John Corzine has adopted toward the growing and troublesome bear population in the Garden State—well, nothing seems too far-fetched when it comes to New Jersey’s wildlife management practices these days.

Police in Vernon, New Jersey are reporting a bear broke into a minivan early yesterday morning and proceeded to stuff itself with the contents of a bag of candy and treats left over from Halloween.

Then, when the bruin had satisfied its sweet tooth, it topped things off by taking the 2004 Mazda for a short joyride down the street.

As we’ve told our Outdoor Newshound readers before—we do not make this stuff up!

An officer patrolling Highland Lakes at 2 a.m. found the minivan parked beside the road with a broken front passenger side window.

According to the police report, contributing to “obvious signs” that the perpetrator was large, black, and furry, “paw prints, gobs of drool, claw marks and a large quantity of black bear fur” were discovered inside the vehicle.

Authorities speculate the bear released the parking brake while pigging out on the Halloween goodies. The vehicle rolled about 40 feet down the road before coming to a stop.

An article in the Newark Star-Ledger reports that a tongue-in-cheek press release from police noted that the patrolman “followed the candy-wrapper trail into the woods, but was unable to locate the defendant black bear.”

Considering some of the stories we’ve been bringing readers in recent days, the only thing that would have made this tale better is if the bear had hit a deer while driving the minivan.

Now that would’ve made a great story!