HUMBOLDT PARK — Skepticism over whether the men who claimed to have caught a second alligator in the Humboldt Park lagoon Saturday night actually found the reptile there is building as authorities continue to investigate.
A Facebook video surfaced Saturday night showing the group of men in Humboldt Park with an alligator they said they caught in the lagoon.
In the video, a man holding an approximately three-feet-long alligator said he was a neighbor of the park, saw an alligator and went out Saturday night to catch it.
The top spokesman for the Chicago Police, Anthony Guglielmi, said Chicago Park District security learned about the alleged capture around 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
Guglielmi said two men told police they caught the alligator together and then wrapped its snout in black tape. He said the men gave conflicting statements to police on the scene.
One of the men claiming to have caught the gator had been in contact with Frank Robb over social media “during and since the initial alligator incident and made comments indicating he and his brother almost had caught the first alligator,” Guglielmi said in a statement.
Robb is the Florida man who, earlier this month, famously caught an alligator in the lagoon after a week of eluding capture.
Guglielmi said police consulted Robb on the validity of the men’s claims and the alligator trapper said the reptile in the video is a juvenile and “could not have been in the lagoon for any period of time.”
“Frank Robb further stated that his investigation on scene revealed only one alligator in the lagoon which was the one captured prior to this incident,” Guglielmi wrote.
Guglielmi said “based on the inconsistencies and information provided by Frank Robb,” police launched an investigation into the men and their claims. Police took the men into custody for questioning, but they have since been released pending further investigation, he said.
Reached by phone Sunday morning, Guglielmi said it’s “too premature,” adding, “We have to figure out what this is.”
“It’s illegal to have an alligator. It’s illegal to dump an alligator in Chicago. We want to look at exactly what happened here. Was this alligator actually in the lagoon. Was he just brought here?”
But the police spokesman said if it is revealed that a “restricted animal” was dumped in the lagoon or false statements were made to police, “then certainly there will be accountability. …
“Two men have been let go pending further investigation. Detectives have some more work to do before we take another run,” he said.
At least three videos have emerged of the men with the alligator at the lagoon Saturday night.
The first video begins after the alligator is already in the hands of the fisherman. Its snout is taped shut. A man on the video said, when questioned by the person shooting the Facebook video, that he brought tape with him in case he caught a gator.
A second video appears to show an officer moving the gator into an Animal Care and Control van.
In the third video, the man filming grows skeptical of the fishermen’s story after police question them.
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