ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A woman “borrowed” an alligator from her previous job for a birthday photo shoot and kept it inside a hotel bathtub, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Officials said an FWC officer was dispatched to the Grove Resort and Water Park in Winter Garden on Sept. 4 after the Orange County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance in dealing with a juvenile alligator that a woman, identified as Madison Stephan, was keeping inside the hotel bathroom, according to the incident report.
Stephan told officials that she used to work at Croc Encounters in Tampa.
She said she “borrowed” the alligator without permission to bring to the hotel to take pictures with it for her birthday, the incident report said.
She went to the wildlife facility before it opened and used the keys she still had to nab the alligator, officials said.
She then drove the gator back to the hotel and put it in the bathtub, officials said.
Croc Encounters and the Grove Resort and Water Park are more than an hour apart from one another.
The woman’s friend told officials that Stephan “had a surprise for her” upon driving to Croc Encounters and snatching the alligator, according to the incident report.
FWC officials said the gator was “cold to the touch” from being inside the cold water in the bathtub, according to the incident report.
Officials also contacted the owner of Croc Encounters, who confirmed that Stephan used to work there, but wasn’t an employee anymore.
He said she didn’t have permission to be on the property or take the alligator, but declined to pursue charges of theft or trespassing.
The alligator was returned to Croc Encounters that afternoon.
Stephan was issued a notice to appear in court for possession of the alligator.