Reptiles and pot just seem to go together.
Police Arrest Two Suspected of Releasing Gator*
Police arrest two men for allegedly conspiring to release an alligator
in Machado Lake, where it continues to allude wranglers who offered to
take the alligator back to their preserve. Janice Hahn says, "They
offered to take it back, but we haven't decided that's the right thing
to do. After all, it's an L.A. gator."
*Police Arrest Two People Suspected of Releasing Alligator in Los
LOS ANGELES , Calif. (AP) 8.24.05, 3:00p -- A former Los Angeles police
officer and another man have been arrested for allegedly conspiring to
release an alligator in a city lake.
A tip from the public led to the arrests of 36-year-old Anthony Brewer
and 42-year-old Todd Natow after raids at separate homes in the San
Police say Brewer gave the alligator - named ``Reggie'' - to Natow, a
former LAPD officer who then released it in the Harbor City lake (about
20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles).
Natow started with the LAPD in 1984 and left in 2001.
Councilwoman Janice Hahn told a news conference at the lake today that
attempts to capture the gator and to patrol the lake cost taxpayers tens
of thousands of dollars.
Brewer was arrested yesterday at a home where officials found evidence
of an alligator habitat, photographs of alligators, narcotics and two
live snapping turtles.
Natow was arrested early today. He had numerous animals, including three
alligators, four piranha fish, one rattlesnake, three desert tortoises,
six desert tortoise eggs and one scorpion.
LAPD Arrests Suspects in Gator Dumping
By Hector Becerra and Natasha Lee
Times Staff Writers
12:33 PM PDT, August 24, 2005
His name is Reggie.
Los Angeles Police announced today they have solved part of the riddle of the wayward 7-foot alligator, which continues to elude searchers at Lake Machado.
Police said the gator, which has befuddled high-priced, self-styled gator wranglers from Colorado and Florida, was a pet whose owner, Anthony Brewer, 36, San Pedro, was arrested Tuesday.
Brewer was charged with conspiracy to illegally possess exotic animals and the illegal release of animals. An alleged accomplice, Todd Natow, also of San Pedro, was also charged.
Authorities said they seized a mini-zoo from Brewer's home on Moray street, including three alligators, piranha fish, one rattlesnake, desert tortoise eggs, a scorpion and six marijuana plants. Natow is a former LAPD officer.
"It was a concerned citizen who was aware this man had an alligator in his backyard for some period of time," said Lt. George Angelos. "And it is our belief that many neighbors were aware of this."
Angelos said Brewer gave "a full confession."
"The primary owner claims to have had a fondness for this animal. However, the animal got a little too hard to handle," Angelos said, describing Reggie as 150 pounds.
Police alleged that Natow dumped the gator in the lake two months ago at the request of Brewer.
"It's frightening. It's scary. These people put a lot of people at risk," said Janice Hahn, a member of the Los Angeles City Council.
She said Brewer should be forced to repay the city for salaries and the fees to the gator wranglers.
The development came as a crew of wranglers tried again today to nab the elusive gator that has for weeks played cat and mouse with pursuers at Harbor City's Lake Machado.
The hunt resumed Tuesday after Los Angeles Parks officials turned to Tim Williams, a Florida gator wrangler, to replace a Colorado expert who had been hired for $800 a day, but failed to produce.
"We're not going anywhere till we got a gator," vowed Williams, head of the new four-man team. "It's gonna be fun."
Williams, the self-styled dean of gator wrestling, said he has been handling gators for 30 years. He came Monday night from Gatorland in Orlando.
The gator had been dubbed "Harbor Park Harry," and dozens of spectators gathered last week to watch the spectacle of the hunt, with several rooting for the reptile. Office workers, amateur herpetologists, retirees and dog walkers have camped out beside the lake for hours.
Williams and his crew rode in a boat onto the lake, saying they plan to entice the alligator into shallow waters, and then subdue him by hand.
Though the brain of a large alligator is about the size of a lima bean, the Lake Machado alligator has proven to be a shrewd survivalist. Gator wrestlers have gotten within 10 feet of it, but it has quickly submerged and disappeared.
It is unclear how the alligator came to reside in a park surrounded by oil refineries and office complexes. Officials assume that it was dumped by somebody who kept it as a pet until it became too big to handle.
Members of the Southwestern Herpetologists Society have assisted in the hunt.
Gregory Randall, wildlife specialist for Los Angeles Department of Animal Services, said Williams has volunteered his time, but that his expenses would be paid.
Jim McDonnell, an LAPD executive, said the gator hunt may be amusing, but the animal poses a real danger.
"Kids come and they have no expectation that there's anything like that when they're feeding the ducks," McDonnell said. "You can imagine what could occur."
Williams said this afternoon his crew had made no sightings.
"If we could just run him up or see him, we could say we know where he's at, we know he's there," Williams said. "We could start with a battle plan."
Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times