Crocs-Wearing Guy Jumps Into Croc Pond at Gator Farm

Yes, this story happened in Florida
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2018 12:24 PM CST

(Newser) – Try saying this five times fast: A guy wearing Crocs jumped into the crocodile pond at an alligator farm. Namely, St. Augustine's Alligator Farm Zoological Park in, yes, Florida. A 23-year-old man was arrested after allegedly breaking into the park Monday night and deciding to take a swim in the "Nile Crocodile" enclosure. A neighbor called 911 at 6:50am the next morning to report a suspicious person, wearing only his underwear, crawling in a backyard near the park. The farm itself soon made its own 911 call to report vandalism: A pair of Crocs and a pair of shorts were floating in the crocodile pond, a bloody trail was found heading to the top of a 20-foot-tall structure near it, and a $3,000 statue had been knocked over. When cops located the boxer-clad man, "he claimed he had been bitten by an alligator," and "we put two and two together," a police spokesperson tells the Florida Times-Union,

Brandon Keith Hatfield has been charged with burglary and criminal mischief; he also allegedly damaged part of a snack bar and toppled lamps and signs at the park before entering the "Oasis on the Nile" exhibit. "He jumped off a 5- to 6-foot structure into about 2 feet of water, then climbed up on the 20-foot structure later, which we know from the blood trail," says the park's director. "In our 125-year history, this is the first time anyone has tried to go swimming with the crocodiles." He was allegedly in the exhibit for four hours, per Action News Jax. The damaged statue can only be accessed by swimming in the croc pond. Security footage shows a 9-foot-long croc lunging at Hatfield, then "lock[ing] onto his left foot" when he escapes to the edge of the pool, per the arrest report. He ultimately managed to fight the croc off and get away. (This guy used a dead wallaby as bait to ride a crocodile.)

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