‘Teaching it a lesson’: Man stole gator from mini-golf course, threw it into the air, police say
DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. — A Florida man is accused of hopping the fence of a mini-golf course, stealing an alligator, and then stomping on it and trying to throw it onto the roof of a building.
Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety officers said William Hodge, 32, of Ft. Myers, told them he was throwing the gator in the air because he was “teaching it a lesson.”
Officers said they saw Hodge attempt to throw the gator onto the roof of a building on South Atlantic Avenue before slamming the gator against the building’s awning, putting it on the ground and then stomping on it twice.
Investigators said when they approached Hodge, he immediately raised his arms above his head as if he was giving up.
According to an arrest report, Hodge told investigators he stole the alligator from an enclosure at Congo River Golf.
To do so, officers said Hodge would have had to jump the wood and rope fencing that surrounds the enclosure, and then jump down into the enclosure to reach the gators.
Hodge is charged with animal cruelty, possession and injury of an alligator, unarmed burglary of an occupied dwelling, petit theft and criminal mischief.
After he was transported to the Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety, officers said he tried to intentionally flood the holding cell by balling up toilet paper and clogging the toilet and the floor drain.
“When I confronted William Hodge about what he was doing, he advised that he would flood the whole place,” an officer wrote in the arrest report.
Officers said Hodge was later transported to the Volusia County Jail.
Police said they rescued the gator and returned it back to Congo River Golf.