Florida man accused of stealing gator from golf course, threw it around to teach ‘it a lesson’

Suspect tried to flood holding cell after arrest, police say

William Hodge
William Hodge (Volusia County Jail)

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. – A Florida man who stole an alligator from a miniature-golf course, swung it around by its tail and threw it into the air claimed he was teaching the reptile “a lesson,” according to the Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety.

Police said they were patrolling on South Atlantic Avenue around 3:20 a.m. Thursday when they saw a man later identified as William Hodge attempting to throw a live gator onto the roof of a building.

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Hodge, 32, grabbed the creature by its tail and hit it against a building awning, according to the affidavit. He’s also accused of slamming it onto the ground and stomping on it twice and throwing the alligator over his shoulder and then onto the ground.

Officers said they approached Hodge after seeing him throw the alligator and he immediately put his hands up to surrender and was taken into custody.

Our officers observed William "Bubba" Hodge carrying an alligator down A1A last night. Hodge was arrested after he was...

Posted by Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety on Thursday, July 15, 2021

He admitted that he jumped a fence into an alligator enclosure at a nearby miniature-golf course and stole the gator after wrestling with it, records show. When asked why he abused the animal, he claimed he was “teaching it a lesson,” according to the affidavit.

Hodge was taken to the public safety department and tried to flood the holding cell by balling up toilet paper to clog the toilet bowl and the drain on the floor, records show.

Police said Hodge threatened to flood the whole facility.

He’s facing charges of animal cruelty, possessing or injuring an alligator, unarmed burglary and criminal mischief.

An arrest report didn’t detail what injuries the alligator suffered if any. It has since been returned to Congo River Golf.

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