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When an alligator lurks, Stearns County's finest respond

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This was no routine call to a Minnesota sheriff's dispatcher.

From out of the murky lowlands near the Sauk River the call for help came from a Rockville homeowner. Or at least the mower of the lawn at a Rockville home.

And what the intrepid mower had spotted was no snake in the grass. It was an alligator, the caller asserted. A couple of feet long.

The deputy who soon arrived made a cautious approach – expecting the reptile to retreat to a watery lair. But no.

Even a prod with a baton elicited no response.

Except, perhaps for the light bulbs that illuminated over certain heads. This was no gator. It was a toy.

Was some neighbor kid giggling behind a tree? Was the lawn mower (the person, not the machine) a conspirator in a hoax?

We may never know. Because the sheriff's office did not include those details in their news release alerting us to the afternoon drama in Rockville in their best Jack Webb voice. (That's a Dragnet reference.)

The St. Cloud Times, and radio stations WJON and KVSC picked up on the story.

Real life alligators do live on the Mississippi River, but experts say they're unlikely to venture north of about Memphis, Tennessee.

What happened to this not-real gator? The sheriff's department says "It was safely removed." Just the facts.

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