Gator eats burglary suspect who hid in lake from deputies, Fla. officials say

BAREFOOT BAY, FL (AP) — Authorities say a man who may have hidden as officers investigated reports of two suspicious men in a Florida community targeted by recent burglaries was killed by an 11-foot alligator.

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Brevard County Sheriff’s Maj. Tod Goodyear says 22-year-old Matthew Riggins told his girlfriend he would be in Barefoot Bay to commit burglaries with another suspect.

Authorities received calls Nov. 13 about two suspicious men in black walking behind homes and investigated. Florida Today reported that there were reports of someone screaming that same night — but the source of the screams could not be found.

Matthew Riggins in a photo from Brevard Sheriff's Office.
Matthew Riggins in a photo from Brevard Sheriff’s Office.

Riggins was reported missing the next day.

Goodyear said sheriff’s divers recovered Riggins’ body 10 days later in a nearby lake and the injuries were consistent with an alligator attack. Florida Today also reported that Riggins might have been in Barefoot Bay lake while possibly hiding to avoid law enforcement.

Authorities said Riggins had drowned and the alligator, which behaved aggressively toward divers, was trapped and euthanized.

Florida Today reports a second person has been taken into custody.

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