Alligator found in Johnson City
Cliff Bickham III, 19, was riding his bike around the village Wednesday afternoon with his 16-year-old brother, Jared, when he saw a small turtle scurry into a drainage area at the corner of CFJ Boulevard and Lester Avenue.
"Let's follow it," he yelled to his brother.
Follow it they did, and one creature led to the discovery of another: an American alligator.
The 27-inch striped reptile had somehow made its way into the inches-deep water under the Lester Avenue overpass, just across the street from CFJ Park.
Cliff Bickham snapped a few pictures of the alligator with his cell phone and sent them to his parents.
"We came down there and we said, 'Holy cow, it really is an alligator," said the boys' father, Cliff Bickham Jr. "You don't expect to find that here, near JC, New York."
The father cautiously snapped up the creature by grabbing it by the back of its neck and tail before taping its mouth shut and covering its eyes in an attempt to settle it down. The family then loaded the gator into their black Chevrolet Tahoe and headed to the Johnson City Police Department, with the now-calm alligator sitting in the father's lap as the boys' mother Holly Bickham drove.
Police tried contacting the state Department of Environmental Conservation with no luck before the Bickhams came up with a temporary solution. They called Jordan Patch, former owner of the Reptile Co. in Endicott, who picked up the alligator and took it to his home in Conklin.
Now the gator sits in a kiddie pool while Patch waits to hear from the DEC, which contacted Johnson City police on Thursday. By Jonathon Campbell •firstname.lastname@example.org • July 15, 2010, 7:55 pm