NEPTUNE, NJ – An alligator was reportedly found abandoned at an empty lot in Neptune, at the Jersey Shore this week and today, police announced the owner has been located.
According to the Monmouth County SPCA, tips from the public led the agency and Neptune police to the owner.
“Thanks to anonymous tips and help from various sources, Savion Mendez of East Orange and the alleged finder Angel Rosario of Asbury Park, were identified as the main persons of interest,” the MCSPCA said today.
Investigators determined Mendez purchased the juvenile gator at a reptile expo in Pennsylvania and was keeping him in a 150-gallon tank at his residence in East Orange.
“When Mendez was evicted from his East Orange residence, he moved with the alligator to the Twinbrook Apartment Complex in Ocean Township, where he and his new roommates are also now facing eviction,” the MCSPCA statement continued. “Being an acquaintance of Mendez, Angel Rosario offered to take the alligator who was then transported by Mendez to Rosario’s Neptune residence. When Rosario’s parents refused to allow him to keep the 3-foot-long reptile, they collectively staged the abandonment and called the Neptune Township Police Department posing as good Samaritans.”
The alligator was never in any danger of harm and neither was the public.
The gator has since been transferred to the care of the Cape May Zoo.
MCSPCA Executive Director, Ross Licitra said, “We’d like to thank our Humane Law Enforcement Division who works in conjunction with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for investigating this case promptly and professionally. We’re also grateful for the assistance of the public, who gave us key information bringing us to the conclusion of this case.”