Alcohol May Have Played a Role In Alligator Theft, Police Say

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Hostage Gator Freed (Photo: AP/Livingston County Sheriff)The Detroit Free Press reported on July 7 that "three intoxicated men stole a 14-foot flattened and preserved alligator, strapped it to a pickup truck and took it off-roading to a mud bogging party," a sentence that raises the obvious question: why no hyphen in "mud-bogging"?

According to the report, the alligator's owner arrived home on June 25 and noticed tire tracks near his barn. He followed these tracks for a while, and they led to a mud-bogging party. (If you're not familiar with this form of entertainment, it involves driving through deep mud.) Upon arriving, he noticed the strange coincidence that tied to the roof of one of the trucks was a 14-foot flattened and preserved alligator that looked just like the one he had (or thought he had) in his barn.

The owner took some pictures and also asked the men where they got the alligator (they lied). The men don't seem to have recognized him (the owner, not the 'gator), which seems unusual given (1) the small size of the town; (2) that, presumably, at least one of them had known that a specific person in town owned a 14-foot flattened and preserved alligator; and (3) the guy in front of them was that person. In any event, having obtained the evidence, the owner wisely withdrew and called the authorities rather than trying to repossess his 'gator on the spot.

Asked by a sheriff's deputy who had taken the alligator, one of the men responded that it was "[his] friend Douglas Ward." Asked what his own name was, he replied, "Douglas Ward." Dang it! You tripped me up with your clever talk!

Police suspected alcohol may have played a role, and in addition to the "Douglas Ward" mishap they probably suspected this because all three men were remarkably drunk. According to the report, two of the men had a BAC over 0.40, five times the legal limit and sufficiently dangerous that doctors had one of them "in a medically induced coma until recently." (The third man had a BAC of just 0.29, so maybe he was the designated driver.)

The 'gator was reportedly unharmed by the ordeal.