The staff of Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin has reported the theft of a rare and valuable Chinese Alligator. Between 1 p.m. Wednesday, December 20th and 8:30 a.m. on December 21, 2006, a three-foot Chinese Alligator was stolen from an open air exhibit at the zoo. The same open air exhibit contained four other alligators that were not taken.
According to Celia Falzone, the exhibit coordinator, the Chinese Alligator is one of the rarest alligators on earth. The alligator is approximately three feet long and capable of causing great harm if it bites a person.
Because the animal is so rare, the value is hard to fix but is believed to be in excess of $10,000.
During the preliminary investigation, no determination was made as to how the alligator was taken. It's unclear if the suspect(s) entered the display or used a device to reach into the display and take the alligator. Zoo officials report it would not be possible for the alligator to have climbed the six foot wall surrounding the enclosure.
Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to call the Lufkin Police Department at (936) 633-0356 or Crime Stoppers at (936) 639-TIPS. Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1000 for information that leads to the recovery of the alligator or an arrest in this case.