Missouri police mistake fake alligator for the real thing

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 02, 2011 1:43 PM
Missouri police mistake fake alligator for the real thing

By Kevin Murphy

KANSAS CITY, Mo (Reuters) - Police in a Kansas City suburb recently encountered one tough alligator -- or so they thought.

Three Independence, Missouri officers responded to a call about on Saturday evening about a large alligator lurking on a grassy embankment of a pond, police spokesman Tom Gentry said Thursday.

An officer called a state conservation agent, who advised shooting the alligator because there was little that conservation officials could do at that time, Gentry said.

Just as instructed, an officer aimed behind the eye of the gator and fired a shot, but it bounced off, Gentry said. A second shot struck the same spot and also was deflected.

It turned out the alligator was made of cement. The property owner told officers later that he placed the ornamental gator by the pond to keep children away, Gentry said.

Nobody had to fear an alligator in Independence in the first place.

"There are no alligators around here, we are too far north, it's too cold," said Bill Graham, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Gentry said officers advised the property owner to try "no trespassing signs" but did not order him to remove the fake gator. Meanwhile, he acknowledged the incident is drawing a lot of attention.

"In hindsight, it's humorous," Gentry said Thursday. "But we have to take every call seriously."

(Writing and reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune)