A southwest Florida man thought he could teach an alligator a lesson by allegedly throwing it onto the roof of a building, police said Friday. William Hodge, 32, of Homestead was arrested Thursday morning after Daytona Beach Shores police officers saw him try to throw the reptile onto the roof of a cocktail lounge located near Highway A1A. Hodge allegedly stole the alligator from a miniature golf course.
After officers saw him try to throw the alligator, Hodge allegedly picked it up by its tail and whacked it against the lounge's awning, reports the Associated Press. Hodge threw the alligator to the ground and stomped on it twice, the police report said. Hodge was arrested and charged with possession and injury of an alligator, unarmed burglary of an occupied dwelling, theft, and criminal mischief.
Hodge allegedly told police officers he stole the alligator from an enclosure at a nearby mini-golf course. He allegedly told them he was trying to "teach it a lesson." The gator is reportedly doing well, according to WESH. Hodge is still in jail as of Friday. Online court records show he does not have an attorney.
This is not the only time a man used an alligator in an improper way in Flordia. In October 2015, Joshua James of Jupiter threw an alligator tossed a drive-through window at a Wendy's restaurant in Loxahatchee. James pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges and apologized for the "stupid prank" when he was sentenced in May 2016. The judge sentenced James to one year of probation, a $500 fine, and 75 hours of community service. James was also ordered to stay away from Wendy's and his request to not have the crime on his record was denied. "In my view there is absolutely no excuse for taking an animal, particularly an alligator, and throwing it through a window at a total stranger," Palm Beach County Judge Barry Cohen said, reports the Sun-Sentinel.
James threw a three-and-a-half-foot long alligator through the Wendy's restaurant's window on Oct. 11, 2015. No one, including the alligator, was injured. The alligator was later released back into the wild. After the sentencing, James' father, Ed James, said his son was a "good," honest, and respectful kid. "He always had a pet lizard," James' father said. "I guess he didn't think nothing of it."