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Chambersburg man accused of retail theft - of alligator

May 05, 2007

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Chambersburg man was charged with retail theft after allegedly stealing an alligator last month, Pennsylvania State Police said.

Joseph Stephens Jr., 21, of 770 Bassett Drive, was charged Thursday with the April 7 theft of the American alligator from The Pet Store at 1710 Lincoln Way East. Police said store security videotapes showed a man removing the foot-long alligator from its tank about 11:45 a.m., police said.

An employee of the store was able to identify Stephens, who is shown on the video hiding the alligator in his clothing and leaving the store, police said. On April 11, an employee from Franklin Feed Co. in Chambersburg called police and told them a man was at the business' pet store asking about alligator supplies, police said.

Stephens was interviewed April 12, and told police he became afraid and dropped the alligator before leaving the store, police said.

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The affidavit of probable cause did not indicate if the alligator, valued at $125, had been recovered.

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