Nothing in New Jersey is to be believed anymore. Remember McGreevey? Remember Katie McClure and the ran out of gas homeless scam? Abscam?

Well now it turns out this week’s story about a three foot alligator being found abandoned in the cold by a good Samaritan wasn’t true.

Oh, there was an alligator in Neptune alright. But authorities now say the very good Samaritan who called police after “finding” it was actually the one who put it there. It was also determined that the alligator was never in any danger and wasn't really abandoned. It was placed there then the so-called good Samaritan called police, authorities say.

What police say happened was a man from East Orange originally got the alligator at a reptile expo in Pennsylvania and kept it in a 150 gallon tank. Then he was in danger of losing his home so he moved in with roommates into an Ocean Township apartment but turns out they were also facing eviction.

Alligator found in a large container in Neptune Township
Alligator found in a large container in Neptune Township (Monmouth County SPCA)

Apparently knowing they had to do something with this friend’s alligator the eventual fake good Samaritan tried taking it to his own parents’ home but they wouldn’t hear of it. And authorities say that’s when he concocted this story about “finding” it in a tub in a lot and called police.

The alligator is doing fine. The fake good Samaritan is not. The alligator is being cared for at the Cape May County Zoo. The man is being charged with filing a false police report. A conviction means a criminal record and can come with fines and jail time.

Does he deserve this? No. It wasn’t even his alligator. He didn’t want to bring any harm to this creature. At the same time he made the simple and understandable mistake of not wanting to get his roommate in trouble for having an illegal alligator in the first place. (And that roommate who originally had the alligator is expected to have charges filed against him by the NJ Department of Fish & Wildlife.)

He was trying to protect them both.

Did he lie to the police about “finding” it? Yes. But by doing so he got the alligator the help it needed. That’s what should matter here. Filing a false policed report is, in my opinion, outweighed by the care he got for the animal. It’s referred to as the scales of justice for a reason. Give the guy a break.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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