A Florida man jumped broke into a crocodile exhibit at a local zoo, swam in the crocodile’s pond, and wound up getting bit on his foot.
It was a crazy day yesterday what with the whole midterm elections and all. But for a few Florida residents, exercising their civic duty was hardly the weirdest thing to happen on Tuesday.
According to Action News Jax, Brandon Hatfield of St. Augustine, Florida broke into the St. Augustine Alligator Farm early Tuesday morning and spent 4 hours vandalizing the exhibits. At one point, he came across the crocodile pit and decided it would be a good idea to jump on in and go for a swim.
Surveillance footage caught Hatfield jumping from a 20-foot roof into the crocodile pond and then swimming with the animals. At one point, a 9-foot long crocodile lunged at him with Hatfield barely making his escape. He seemed completely unaware of the dangerous situation he’d put himself in.
Until a crocodile bit him on the foot, that is.
Park director John Brueggen told local news that workers found evidence of a break-in while opening the park on Tuesday. A few lamps and signs were broken, and the statue in the middle of the crocodile pit had been tipped over. It’s only possible to reach that statue via swimming.
Workers then found a pair of rubber “crocs”, which seemed all too fitting, and then “a lot” of blood was located at the zip line platform overlooking the croc pit.
Staff then called the police, who said, "Oh, I think we've already got the perpetrator in custody. We got somebody who told us they were bitten by an alligator."
This is a prior mugshot of Brandon Hatfield, the man St. Augustine police say jumped into a pit of crocodiles after breaking into the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) November 6, 2018
Video shows at least one crocodile attacking him: https://t.co/jja2MoSPG0 pic.twitter.com/QmkeOQgo1y
After being bitten on the foot, Hatfield tried to make his escape wearing nothing but his underwear. Local residents called 911 to report “a man with only gym shorts crawling” away from the Alligator Farm in the early hours of the morning. It was easy for police to catch up with Hatfield to arrest him.
Once in police custody, Hatfield admitted that he’d been bitten on the foot by an alligator, but said it was not while at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.
Hatfield is charged with burglary, criminal mischief costing over $5,000 in damages, and violation of probation. Officers suspect drug use was involved.