NJ alligator wins? Reptile may have escaped massive police search
🐊 The alligator spotted in a Middlesex Borough park has not been seen in over a week
🐊 Police say it may have escaped the area after drone and boat searches
🐊 The park is reopening despite authorities not knowing where the gator went
MIDDLESEX BOROUGH — The alligator loose in the waterways of this Central Jersey borough may have gotten away after over seven days with no sightings.
In the weeks after the first confirmed sighting, authorities have seemingly spared no expense to root out the reptile, which is believed to be between three to four feet long.
Drones from the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office and a boat from the local public works department were used in the search. Traps were laid out by the Division of Fish & Wildlife last week. Kayaks, waders, video surveillance, and patrols were used. The local Office of Emergency Management and the fire department have also helped in the search.
A police officer shot at the alligator on Saturday, Aug. 26 but could not confirm if the shot connected. The reptile may have been killed and it didn't float to the surface, Mayor John Madden said to NJ.com. However, it was spotted several days after the shooting.
But on Thursday, 15 days after the non-indigenous alligator first appeared, police conceded that the alligator may have escaped the massive search. It was last seen in the waters near a small island in Lake Creighton on Aug. 30, police said.
"Although this likely indicates that the alligator is no longer in the area, anyone who observes the alligator should not approach or otherwise interact with it," police said. Instead, if someone sees the gator they should call the Middlesex police at 732-356-1900 or 9-1-1.
With the gator possibly in a different area, officials have reopened Victor Crowell Park.
While the park is open, there are some restrictions for safety. No fishing and no swimming will be allowed and the lakeside docks are still closed. A playground near Greene Avenue will also stay closed for work that had already been planned.