Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present the most #Florida story of all time. Just a bro in a baseball cap, bringing his alligator along for a beer run.
“Hey, man, ya’ll got beer still?” says the man. “Ya’ll got beer still? Ya’ll ain’t out, are ya’ll?” He then jokingly accuses another person of taking the last beer. “Is he taking the last bit of beer? Are you taking the last bit?” Footage shows this man, gator in his arms, charging this individual. The chase ends, naturally, at a walk-in beer freezer. With his free left hand, the man picks up a pack, and makes his way presumably to checkout.
This video popped up on the Facebook page “Only in Duval.”
“File this under: Sh!t that happens when you’re from Duval, Florida,” read the post.
The man who reportedly posted the footage told First Coast News that it was “all fun and games,” and he knew everyone in the store. The gator could not be reached for comment.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating the beer run, a spokesman told Law&Crime.
“The FWC is aware of the video depicting a number of individuals in possession of an American alligator both outside and inside a Jacksonville Heights convenience store (8402 103rd St, Jacksonville, FL) in Duval County,” said a statement from Public Information Coordinator Rob Klepper. “The disregard shown for Florida’s wildlife in this instance is concerning, and the incident is currently under criminal investigation by the FWC.”
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to called the FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 888-404-3922, he wrote. Citing the need to protect the integrity of the investigation, Klepper declined to provide a status update, or even confirm if investigators have spoken to the people in the video.
It’s worth mentioning that his statement included an advisory for the public to give wildlife space, a link to a FWC page discussing how to co-exist with gators, and reference to Florida Statute 379.409. Illegally killing, injuring, possessing, or capturing an alligator is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Even an attempt will violate this law.
Turns out, people are awfully touchy about gators.
In 2016, Florida man Joshua James was charged and convicted after throwing a live alligator through a Wendy’s drive-thru window. It’s the FWC that played a key role in investigating the incident. No one was injured. James was sentenced to one year of probation, and also had to pay a $500 fine and serve 75 hours of community service.
Obviously, Florida law lays down some regulations about the whole thing. For example, residents must have a permit before getting a pet gator. Receiving that means showing at least one year and 1,000 hours of experience in handling, husbandry, and taking care of gators and other crocodile-type species. One would also have to be at least 18 years old and have never been convicted of certain wildlife violations.
Note: Updated with a statement from the FWC.
[Screengrab via Only in Duval]