Florida Man Attacked After Jumping into Crocodile Pit

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Don't do drugs, boys and girls. After all, you don't want to end up like this Florida man who decided to break into the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and go swimming with a bunch of crocodiles. 

 According to Actionnewsjax.com, Brandon Hatfield spent four hours in the exhibit. Surveillance cameras captured video of Hatfield jumping into the pit over and over again from a 20-foot roof and swimming around the pond with the crocodiles...that is until one attacked. Shocking, I know. In the footage, you can see that Hatfield climbed onto the bank of the pond where an approximately 9-foot crocodile lunged toward him and grabbed his foot. Fortunately, Hatfield managed to break free of the crocodile's grasp. He then crawled over the wall and left the enclosure.

Park staff had no idea Hatfield had broken into the alligator farm until Tuesday morning when they discovered a pair of shorts and a rubber "Crocs" shoe floating in the crocodile pit. At first they thought it might be a prank, but then they discovered "a lot" of blood at the top of the zipline platform that overlooks the crocodiles. 

They called police, but they'd already caught the suspect, who was located in a nearby neighborhood in only his boxers. A resident in that neighborhood had called 911 claiming that a man was "doing a slow, creeping crawl" across her property.

"There’s a man with only gym shorts crawling," the caller said. "He's just crawling with his shorts halfway down his [butt] and no other clothes."  

After Hatfield was taken into custody, he denied that he'd been messing around the alligator farm. 

According to his arrest report, he instead told officers that an "old man had the alligator on a leash and he was surrounded by all these baby alligators in the old man's garage."

He said "the old man was feeding him to his alligators" and "began forcing him to drink this black concoction."

Hatfield was taken to Flagler Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to his leg and foot. 

Police say Hatfield is charged with burglary, criminal mischief with more than $5,000 in damage and violation of probation. He will be transferred to the St. Johns County Jail when he is medically cleared.

Park director John Brueggen said this is the first time someone has jumped into one of the exhibits in the 125 years the park has been open.

"I would think he's on some sort of drugs," Brueggen said. "I'm concerned about an individual who literally climbs up a wall that's meant to keep you from crocodiles and leaps over the wall into the water with them."

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