BRANDON — Hillsborough deputies apprehended a reptilian loiterer on Tuesday evening who started their 2019 by taking a ride in the back of a sheriff's cruiser.
The deputies wrangled, corralled and eventually subdued a 5-foot alligator near a familiar haunt for New Year's revelers, the Waffle House off State Road 60.
Video captured by Tampa Bay Times staff photographer Luis Santana shows a crowd gather as the deputies made several attempts to take the alligator into custody.
That included numerous attempts to toss blankets over the gator's head to blindfold and subdue it.
After a few missed shots and what may be the slowest foot chase in the 174-year history of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the deputies were able to get onto the gator's back, tape its jaw and legs together and then load it into the back of a cruiser.