Friday, May 25, 2007

Fugitive Captured: Reggie The Alligator Captured While Cathing A Few Rays!

As reported on May 11th in Discover Insanity titled "Go Reggie Go!," it it sad for me to report that Reggie the alligator's two years of freedom ended yesterday when the coldblooded fugitive left the chilly waters of Lake Machado and was taken into custody on the shore. The wily beast became a celebrity as it eluded would-be gator wranglers and managed to disappear for 18 months until it recently resurfaced.

Bad timing may have ruined Reggie's free rein where the cold-blooded creature was sunning itself in an open fence erected several days ago in hopes of corralling it. Park officials then closed a gate and Los Angeles Zoo reptile expert Ian Recchio hooked its neck. Five or six men wrestled to restrain the thrashing alligator until his jaws could be duct taped shut. D'Lisa Davies of the city fire department said it is not yet confirmed that the animal is Reggie. Davies said experts will measure the animal to determine whether it is Reggie or a different alligator.

The capture came as experts from Australia were meeting with Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and her aides on how to capture the alligator, which had been spotted recently in the lake near the Harbor Freeway in Harbor City. Reggie, who resurfaced in late last month after a nearly 18-month-long absence, had managed to elude professional alligator hunters, including a team from Gatorland in Florida, which spent part of 2005 searching for Reggie after the creature was allegedly dumped in the lake by owners who considered him too big to keep. The city has spent an estimated $180,000 to capture and protect the public from the reptile.

How did Reggie get in the lake? Well, the stupidity of Ex-LAPD Officer Todd Natow and his friend, Anthony Brewer, were arrested after a tip led investigators to the pair. Authorities said Reggie had grown too large for a backyard pool where he was being kept. Brewer pleaded no contest to a state wildlife law violation and was sentenced to probation. Natow pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges tied to Reggie's possession and lake release. In my opinion, both guys should have ogtten stiifer sentences and should be made to pay the $180,000 that the city had to.

In LA, everything that happens is "Breaking News." In a scene reminiscent of a certain chase of a black man in a white Bronco, local news helicopters and a load of news vans followed the white Animal Control truck carrying Reggie up the Harbor Freeway.

The 7-foot alligator was taken to the Los Angeles Zoo, where he will be quarantined for up to 60 days to make sure he isn't carrying any diseases. City officials exchanged handshakes and high-fives as the caravan of police and animal control vehicles entered the zoo. Fans of Reggie gathered there with T-Shirts and signs almost reminescent of last nights premiere of "Pirates of the Carribbean!" Hahn said the alligator will remain at the zoo and people will be allowed to visit.

The gator inspired a zydeco song, two children's books and innumerable T-shirts. Students at Los Angeles Harbor College next to the lake adopted Reggie as a second mascot and the story of Los Angeles' mysterious urban alligator went worldwide. There was a MySpace Web Page and a Life On the Lake Blog all dedicated to our newest local celebrity. The city spent thousands of dollars in overtime pay to make sure the lake was staffed to warn people of Reggie's presence, Hahn said. "This is a good ending for everyone."'s sad to see you get captured and I wish you the best in your new endeavors!