City releases surveillance video of man stealing alligator - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

City releases surveillance video of man stealing alligator

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

It's a far away shot, but footage from a downtown city surveillance camera shows the outline of a man leaving the Flint Riverquarium with a 3 foot alligator around his neck.

Alligators are some of the most popular animals at the Flint Riverquarium.

"Well, they are because a lot of folks are scared of alligators and want to see them so this is an opportunity to get us close and personal in a generally safe setting."

But Van Hai Tang is accused of taking that to another level by climbing an exterior wall to get into a tank, and stealing a gator.

The alligator, called Nubs, for his missing toe, is recovering inside a tank. Riverquarium staffers rescued him from the Flint River, after police say Tang threw him into the river after stealing him.  

Nubs is eating well and doing fine now.

"He has eaten which is a key indicator of good health and him getting back into his normal routine. So no major injuries from what we were able to determine. He was released at water level and not like thrown from a bridge. Not many abrasions."

The alligator will be quarantined for about month before he's allowed to go back into his usual tank as Riverquarium officials review their security.

"This was certainly an opportunity for us to go back and look at all our procedures and how things are set up so this doesn't happen in the future."

He says this is the first time something like this has happened.

"Well yes, its not an everyday occurrence that someone's walking down front street with an alligator in the middle of the day. Its surprising and you never know what your going to see and part of looking at everything we do here at the Riverquarium in how to keep our public, staff and our collection safe."

The Flint Riverquarium has more than 120 different species of animals.

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