Florida Man, 32, Nabbed After Cops Spot Him Swinging, Stomping Stolen Alligator At 3:20 AM

1/7/22 UPDATE: Alligator abuser is sentenced to probation

Even by Florida's loose standards, a guy swinging a stolen alligator around by its tail at 3:20 AM in an attempt at “teaching it a lesson” is truly bizarre.

According to police, William Hodge, a 32-year-old fisherman, was arrested early today after officers spotted him trying to fling the purloined alligator atop a building in Daytona Beach Shores.

When Hodge’s attempt to launch the alligator failed, Hodge slammed the reptile to the ground and stomped on it, according to a charging affidavit.

When cops approached Hodge, seen at right, he “raised his hands up as if he were giving up and was taken into custody.” Asked what he was doing when throwing the alligator in the air, Hodge reportedly replied that he was "teaching it a lesson."

Investigators say Hodge removed the alligator from an enclosure (seen below) at Congo River Golf & Exploration, a miniature golf course that offers patrons the opportunity to feed and hold alligators.

The court affidavit does not specify the size and weight of the alligator Hodge is alleged to have swiped. The alligator was subsequently turned over to Congo River’s general manager, who valued the stolen goods at $300.

Hodge was charged with animal cruelty, possession and injury of an alligator, unarmed burglary, theft, and criminal mischief. He is being held in the Volusia County jail in lieu of $4500 bond.