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A Florida man stole an alligator from a mini-golf course and tried to heave the reptile onto the roof of a building to “teach it a lesson,” authorities said.
William “Bubba” Hodge, 32, was arrested early Thursday in Daytona Beach Shores, where cops spotted him attempting to launch the gator onto the roof of a business by its tail, police said.
Cops spotted Hodge, of Ft. Myers, slamming the animal against an awning as he attempted to hurl it atop the Metz Lounge, WOFL reported.
He also threw the alligator on the ground and stomped on it twice, the outlet said.
Hodge, who immediately surrendered when cops approached him, told officers he hopped a fence to an alligator enclosure at Congo River Golf in Daytona Beach and stole the beast, according to an arrest report obtained by the station.
Asked why he was throwing the alligator in the air by its tail, Hodge told cops he was “teaching it a lesson,” the arrest report shows.
“The alligator was returned to management of Congo River Golf from where Hodge claimed to have stolen it after a brief wrestling match,” the Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety said in a statement.
A photo posted by the department on Facebook shows the small alligator on a sidewalk as officers take Hodge into custody.
The gator, meanwhile, is expected to survive, WESH reported.
Hodge remains in custody as of early Friday at the Volusia County Jail on charges including animal cruelty, alligator poaching, burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, criminal mischief and petit theft.
His bond is set at $4,500, online records show. It’s unclear if he’s hired an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
While in custody of the Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety, Hodge also tried to flood a holding cell by stuffing paper into a toilet and a drain while threatening to flood the entire facility, WKMG reported.
An employee at Congo River Golf referred The Post to a manager who did not immediately return a message seeking comment early Friday. Guests at its eight Florida locations can feed dozens of alligators during their visit, according to its website.
“Grab a pole and step right up to try a gator feeding experience like no other,” the site reads. “It’s always an adventure at Congo River Golf!”
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