New Jersey park closed to the public as police search for an alligator on the loose

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Alligator sighting in New Jersey prompts popular park to shut down
Victor Crowell Park in Middlesex, New Jersey is closed to the public as police search for an alligator on the loose. Jim Dolan has the latest details.

MIDDLESEX, New Jersey -- A New Jersey park was closed on Monday as police continue to search for an alligator on the loose.

The Middlesex Borough Police Department first received a report of a small alligator seen at Victor Crowell Park last week.

The alligator has been spotted in Lake Creigton, commonly known as the Duck Pond, and the Ambrose Brook in Victor Crowell Park.

Officers and local officials are putting out all the stops to locate the reptile.

In fact, there were so many drones on the lookout of the alligator Monday, that one got stuck in a tree. The drone had to be rescued by a fire department ladder truck.

For an alligator that is estimated to be three to four feet long, it is surprisingly good at staying hidden.

On Friday, a witness said they saw the alligator attack a duck and pull it under the water.

Saturday night, police officers were able to locate the alligator themselves. An officer attempted to neutralize it by discharging their firearm at a close proximity.

The alligator immediately submerged into the water. It is not clear if the attempt to neutralize the alligator was successful.

As of Monday, Middlesex police announced the park was closed to the public for 72 hours or until the alligator is no longer deemed a threat to public safety.

"Citizens are strongly urged to stay away from Creighton Lake and the Ambrose Brook and should NOT approach or make attempts to capture the alligator," said Chief Matthew Geist.

Alligators are not native to New Jersey, so it is not clear how the animal got into the park's waters.

Although possession of alligators is illegal in New Jersey, they are sometimes purchased out of state. Owners often release the reptiles in local water bodies when they can no longer care for them.

NJDEP Fish and Wildlife is seeking information about the alligator's current location so they can set a humane trap. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the DEP hotline at 877-WARN-DEP.