Suspected burglar hiding from police near a lake taken by alligator
AN alligator took a bite out of crime literally.
A suspected burglar hid from pursuing police officers on the edge of Barefoot Bay inBrevard County, Florida, and was taken by the over three metres-long ‘gator.
Matthew Riggins, 22, of the nearby city of Palm Bay, called his girlfriend and told her he had broken into homes and was being chased by officers who had dogs but had found somewhere safe to hid.
“He probably went into the lake to hide from the officers and the dog, and came across that ‘gator,” Major Tod Goodyear of Brevard County Sheriff’s Office told Bay News 9.
“To hide somewhere to try and get away, and then meeting up with an animal like that, no, I’ve never had that happen before.”
Brevard County Sheriff’s Office deputies had been tipped off that two men dressed in black — Riggins and a male partner — were checking out properties to break into. They were spottede but gave deputies the slip and the search was abandoned. Riggins was reported as missing to Palm Bay Police Department by his family 24 hours later.
Hiding from police after suspected burglary ... Matthew Riggins, 27, was drowned after being attacked by an alligator as he took shelter. Picture: Palm Bay Police DepartmentSource:Supplied
Riggins body was found in the lake 10 days later. As deputies tried to pull his body from the water, they encountered the aggressive 3.4 metre-long alligator.
After the alligator was euthanized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, forensic investigators found the burglary suspect’s hand and foot inside the reptile’s stomach, officials said.
It was determined that Riggins drowned as a result of the attack by the alligator.
“He hid in the wrong place,” Laura Farris, a Barefoot Bay resident told Bay News 9.
Riggins’ partner-in-crime has been found by deputies but is yet to be charged. He has not been co-operative, said deputies.
“I would say it’s poetic justice, you want to sit there and steal from people,” another resident Chuck Stokes said.