13 baby alligators stolen from petting zoo

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HOT SPRINGS, AR – Police in hot springs, Arkansas are on the hunt for two suspects who stole 13 baby alligators from a local farm and petting zoo.

Their worried owner says he really just wants to know that his gaters are being cared for.

Stacey Spivey spoke to him.

She filed this report:

(Voice of Jamie Bridges/Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo) “We’re a sanctuary for gators.”

An attraction first opening in hot springs in 1902.

(Jamie Bridges/Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo) “In 1945 my grandfather bought it.”

The Arkansas alligator farm and petting zoo a place Jamie Bridges and his family could share their love for gators.

(Jamie Bridges/Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo) “We just enjoy animals, enjoy alligators and it’s been good to us.”

Year round guests visit the farm for a feeding with these guys.

But early Saturday morning someone took a bite out of this family business.

(Voice of Jamie Bridges/Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo) “Its less than two minutes and they’re gone.”

You can see in this surveillance video two suspects wearing masks breaking down the door, taking 13 baby gators, stuffing them into their bags and taking off.

(Voice of Jamie Bridges/Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo) “They were like our babies, we treated them like babies, we didn’t let anybody handle them, even my workers.”

Channel 7 was able to meet some of the missing gators on Friday.

Bridges tells us 12 of them were about 12 inches long and not even a year old.

The other around 3 feet long.

(Voice of Jamie Bridges, Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo) “They just started eating real good, had gotten used to us you know, but they’re gone now.”

Bridges believes the suspects were no strangers to the farm.

Filing a police report wanting them to get caught.

But he’s still chomping at the bit to get his gators back.

(Jamie Bridges, Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo) “I think word will get out and maybe we’ll get them back. I hope.”

If not he just wants them to be safe.

(Voice of Jamie Bridges, Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo) “I just hope if they did get them that they take them where somebody will take care of them.”

It is illegal to posses alligators in Arkansas, according to state wildlife authorities.

There are only two exceptions to that rule for commercial breeders or alligators that have legally come from another state.

That was Stacey Spivey reporting.