A fisherman caught an alligator the NYPD nicknamed “Jaws” that had been evading capture for a month while swimming at a park in Queens near the Van Wyck Expressway yesterday afternoon, authorities said.
Joseph Genovese, a 51-year-old Whitestone man who works for Wheel Fun Rentals, said he first spotted the reptile about six days ago when he was fishing at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The NYPD had first learned of it on Aug. 1, according to the 110th precinct’s social media account.
Cops from the NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit tried to capture the alligator from Flushing Creek more than once, but were not able to.
“Jaws is back! Bigger and badder than before!” wrote Deputy Inspector Christopher Manson, who heads the 110th precinct, on Twitter Monday. “Seen by several people in the lake today. But he got away when officers tried to catch him.”
Urban park rangers also weren’t able to trap it with nets, snare poles, or traps.
Genovese said he finally nabbed the alligator using a fishing rod and a treble hook, and dragged it back to shore. “I just caught it,” he said. “I was determined. It’s really good, it wouldn’t have lasted winter.”
Emergency Service Unit cops helped him tape the alligator’s mouth shut, and rangers took it to Animal Care & Control in Brooklyn. “‘Jaws’ in custody!” tweeted Manson.
The alligator is between 18 inches and 2 feet long, the Parks spokesperson said.
Genovese said an exotic pet owner may have dumped the alligator at the park. “They are not native to New York,” he said.
The Parks Department said the reptile was uncommon, but people will abandon pets in parks.
“While it is rare to find an alligator in NYC Parks, we do find non-native animals in parks from time to time,” said spokeswoman Meghan Lalor. “Often these are pets that are let loose in the park. Releasing pets into parks is illegal and can be harmful to the animal.”