A 12-foot (3.60 m) alligator has joined the Christmas shopping frenzy in Lee County, Florida. The 600-pound (272 kg) monster was found in a shopping mall in South Florida by people doing their vacation shopping on December 21.
Once the situation was reported to local authorities, they quickly determined that this unusual customer at Coconut Point Mall posed a public safety concern.
The response required the cooperation of at least eight officers from the Sheriff's Office as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to capture the alligator. The Lee County Sheriff's Office shared part of this operation on its social media, and local media covered the event extensively. In a strange way, it sparked more laughter than fear among Floridians.
“There is truly never a dull moment while patrolling Lee County,” the Sheriff's Office said in its Facebook post.
People were having a field day in the comments section on these posts.
“He wanted to get into the holiday spirit with everyone!” Internet user announces. Another exclaimed: “Wow, he would have caught a lot of elves and maybe a Santa or two.”
The monster was moved to a wildlife sanctuary 70 kilometers from the shopping centre, much to the relief of many, who wanted to shop in peace without harming the reptiles.
“Total coffee aficionado. Travel buff. Music ninja. Bacon nerd. Beeraholic.”