A suspected burglar from Palm Bay, Fla. was killed by an alligator last month, local authorities say.
According to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office, Matthew Riggins told his girlfriend on Nov. 12 or 13 that he was headed to nearby Barefoot Bay to commit burglaries with another male.
Early in the morning on Nov. 13, deputies responded to a report of two males dressed in black walking behind houses in the area. The suspects fled when they spotted deputies and managed to get away.
Riggins was reported missing later that day when he didn't come home. Authorities later learned he contacted his girlfriend to say deputies were chasing him before he disappeared.
On Nov. 23, Riggins' body was found in a nearby lake. A dive team later crossed paths with a three-metre-long alligator after it "aggressively" approached them. The reptile was trapped and euthanized due to the trauma on Riggins' body.
The 22-year-old man was missing his lower extremities and part of one of his arms, deputies told the Orlando Sentinel.
A forensic examination later found "remains consistent with the injuries to Riggins" inside the gator's stomach, according to the Sheriff's office.
"He probably went into the lake to hide from the officers and the dog, and came across that gator," Maj. Tod Goodyear of the Sheriff's office told Bay News 9.
"To hide somewhere to try and get away, and then meeting up with an animal like that, no, I've never had that happen before."
"He hid in the wrong place," said Barefoot Bay resident Laura Farris.
Goodyear said snowbirds returning for the winter have reported burglaries and that those are being investigated in connection with Riggins and his accomplice, according to Florida Today.
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