🐊 The owner of a 3-foot-alligator turned the alligator over to a friend when he was evicted

🐊 The friend's parents said the gator couldn't stay but helped cook up a story about it being found

🐊 Monmouth Count SPCA law enforcement cracked the case


NEPTUNE TOWNSHIP — The "good Samaritan" who found a baby alligator in a plastic tub Sunday night was part of a fake story concocted to help a friend get rid of the gator.

Monmouth County Executive Director Ross Licitra said that when Savion Mendez of East Orange was evicted from his apartment, he and his 3-foot alligator moved to a friend's home at the Twinbrook Apartment Complex in Ocean Township.

Mendez soon faced a second eviction and turned to his friend Angel Rosario, who agreed to take in the alligator at his Neptune Township home, Licitra said.

Rosario's parents, however, said the alligator could not stay in their Bangs Avenue home.

Mendez, Rosario and his parents then told Neptune Township police a made-up story about the alligator being found outside in a lot next to Rosarios' house, promoting the MCSPCA to take the alligator to their Eatontown shelter.

Alligator found in a large container in Neptune Township
Alligator found in a large container in Neptune Township (Monmouth County SPCA)
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Alligator was never in danger

Mendez was keeping the baby alligator he bought at a reptile expo in Pennsylvania inside a 150-gallon tank.

Licitra said the alligator was never left outside in the cold or in any danger.

It was the work of the professional law enforcement officers of the MCSPCA that cracked the case.

"I want to really give kudos to our SPCA police. They track down these things like a hound dog, follow up leads," Licitra said. "The SPCA does not take these things lightly. We chase these things down until we exhaust every avenue."

Mendez faces regulatory charges from the New Jersey Department of Fish & Wildlife for the violation of keeping a prohibited and dangerous exotic species. Rosario, along with his parents, are facing charges of falsifying a police report.

The alligator was taken to a new home at the Cape May Zoo.

Alligator found in a large container in Neptune Township
Alligator found in a large container in Neptune Township (Monmouth County SPCA)
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Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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