A man in West Virginia stole a baby alligator by smuggling it under his t-shirt.
There’s a lot to worry about in that sentence given that gators are native neither to the Mountain State nor to t-shirts, so let’s set the scene: A man entered a pet shop in Beckley, W. Va., and asked about food for an alligator he’d purchased previously. When the attendant went to see about the gator chow, the man quickly snuck back to where the gators were kept, pulled one from its terrarium, stuffed it up his shirt, and hurried out.
While there are more daring—and certainly more criminally glorious way to commit theft—shoving an alligator up your shirt seems particularly fraught with danger. Even so, the man made it out the door undetected.
In fact, the theft was not noticed until well afterward, when employee Anthony Williams went to feed the reptile, didn’t see it, realized it wasn’t hiding under a rock, and reviewed surveillance footage. The thief, a regular customer, was shown on camera walking with a squirming bulge in his shirt from the area of the store where the animal had been kept.
“Doesn't seem like the safest thing to do," said Williams. "I'm just shocked. Every business has to deal with shoplifting, but I would just would not expect an alligator to be shoplifted."
Williams was a bit skeptical that hiding a gator under one’s clothing was the smartest way to smuggle. "I mean, I can imagine the boy probably got bit on the way out," Williams said. "It's just an awful strange thing to do."
The animal was worth $300, so maybe a nip or two (as always, sorry for the puns) was worth it.
And, for graphic effect, imagine the following being confined against its will under a t-shirt: