43 gators, crocodiles torched after accelerant sprayed in Bushnell pen

Discovery Channel show co-host pleads for safe return of rare gator

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

BUSHNELL, Fla. - One of the star's of the Discovery Channel's Swamp Brothers is pleading to the person who killed 43 of his reptiles to return a rare alligator that's missing.

Sumter County sheriff's investigators said the alligators and crocodiles were killed Friday night when someone broke into their enclosure, sprayed accelerant to set the place on fire and then took off.

"They were my animals. I had to get them out," said Robbie Keszey, co-host of Swamp Brothers.

He told News 6 he was frantic when he heard his son yelling from outside.

"I dropped everything and ran out the door, and you could just see smoke," he said. "My wife called 911, and I ran up here, and I tried to grab the door and open it up. The flames were coming out the sides, and it was so hot (that) I burned my hand, and I just remember falling to the ground and crying and throwing up."

Investigators said 43 of the alligators were killed, while another one -- a rare Leucistic alligator named Snowball -- was missing.

Keszey said he's certain someone took Snowball.

He said the alligator, which is mostly white with blue eyes, is worth approximately $100,000, but he said the price tag doesn't compare to the joy Snowball has brought to children.

"When you can make a kid feel like that and forget all about their problems for 10 minutes ... that’s what Snowball did," Keszey said. "That’s why we want him back, and we want to continue doing that with him."

Keszey said he is desperate to find Snowball.

Anyone with information about the fire, or regarding Snowball's location, is urged to call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).

Tips are anonymous, and there is a reward for information leading to an arrest.?

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