Arkansas Online

Burglars Broke Into an Arkansas Nature Center to Steal... a Live Alligator?!

Police actually found a live alligator in these burglary suspects' car. 

Just when you think you've heard it all, something else comes along to show the truth is often stranger than fiction. That's the case in this latest news out of Little Rock, Arkansas. Three men broke into a nature center and attempted to steal a live alligator, for reasons unknown.

Arkansas Online reports the alligator, which is approximately three feet long, was taken from its tank in the Central Arkansas Nature Center during the Wednesday night break-in in the downtown area center. Officers got on the scene quickly, however, and caught 23-year-old Samuel Cooper and 24-year-old Kevin Patrick red-handed in the building.

Patrick surrendered immediately to authorities, but Cooper dropped a shotgun taken from one of the center's displays and ran. He was captured quickly with 24-year-old Landon Williamson as they attempted to escape in their car.

It was after the suspects' capture that the police discovered something unexpected. The alleged thieves had stashed the alligator under a seat in the car. Luckily, the unnamed reptile was returned to its tank, unharmed, on Thursday afternoon. There is no word on what exactly the three suspects had planned to do with the alligator.

They also allegedly swiped some bird calls, alligator teeth and a replica of a rattlesnake. The replica is still missing, according to a post on the nature center's Facebook page. "We are asking anyone who sees the snake replica to please report it to us immediately so we can return it to the center as soon as possible," said Arkansas Game and Fish Commission director Neil Curry in the post.

At least the animal was unharmed in the fiasco. As for the three suspects, the men will now face charges for theft of property, commercial burglary and criminal mischief. This crime left the nature center closed for repair with thousands of dollars in damages.