MIDDLESEX, N.J. (WPIX) – When you think of where alligators call home, there’s a good chance Florida and Louisiana may come to mind.
But probably not New Jersey.
Yet that is exactly the case in Middlesex County, where an alligator was spotted in the Ambrose Brook in Victor Crowell Park. The police department and crews have been searching for the reptile. It’s been keeping a low profile, and people are going there with the hope of getting a glimpse.
“You can tell by the people out here. They are excited. We finally made the news for something,” said Francis Sweeney.
“In the house, we were hearing the helicopter. So, we are like let’s go take a walk,” Patty Phillips said.
Authorities estimate the alligator is about 3 to 4 feet long. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Conservation Police is working to capture and relocate it.
Search crews have taken a few trips by boat but have not been successful. Police are urging people to keep away from the alligator if they see it and to not try to catch it.
The brook is a favorite for ducks, who may not be too fond of their visitor. Longtime residents in the area wonder if someone dumped the gator there.
“It’s kind of sad because the alligator, obviously, was someone’s pet, and they just threw it away. There are plenty of places to hide here … It could be at home here for a while,” said Middlesex resident Rich Thomasey, referring to the marshlands and tree logs that could help disguise the alligator.
Authorities closed the park to visitors on Monday afternoon.
“Victor Crowell Park will be closed to the public for a minimum of 72 hours or until such time that the alligator is deemed to no longer be a threat,” Middlesex Borough Police Chief Matthew Geist said Monday afternoon.