Florida

Two alligators surprised cops when they searched a car trunk for stolen property

Christian Thomas Elmore of Fort Pierce was arrested on two felony counts of killing or possessing two alligators after two dead ones were found by Fort Pierce police in his car trunk in a Walmart parking lot on Nov. 19, 2018.
Christian Thomas Elmore of Fort Pierce was arrested on two felony counts of killing or possessing two alligators after two dead ones were found by Fort Pierce police in his car trunk in a Walmart parking lot on Nov. 19, 2018. Fort Pierce Police Department

A Walmart loss prevention officer reported to police he had spotted a Fort Pierce man shoplifting fishing items from the store and placing them in his car trunk.

When police arrived, they determined the value of the stolen goods was just over $232.

The man, Christian Thomas Elmore, 25, was arrested and his bail was set at $8,250.

That’s because what really got him in trouble were the two dead alligators officers spotted in his trunk, according to his arrest report.

Fort Pierce police say Elmore walked out of Walmart’s garden department Monday afternoon with fishing gear he picked out in the sporting goods department.

Kara Hudson, the store’s loss prevention officer, confronted Elmore in the parking lot and asked him to return to the store’s loss prevention office.

Elmore complied, the arrest affidavit said.

When officers arrived, Elmore told them he would return the fishing gear and they walked back with him to his silver Toyota in the lot. When he opened the trunk, the officers “observed all of the Walmart fishing items and two dead alligators,” the report read.

Two officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission picked up the two dead gators. Elmore was arrested by the Fort Pierce Police Department and charged with two felony counts of killing or possessing alligators and a single petit theft misdemeanor charge.

Elmore was booked into St. Lucie County Jail. The two felony charges had bail set at $3,750 each. The misdemeanor charge added $750 for a total bail of $8,250.

Elmore was released later Monday night.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.


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