9 Dec 2015

Suspected burglar eaten by alligator

7:44 am on 9 December 2015

A US man suspected of burglary has been eaten by a three-metre long alligator after trying to evade capture by hiding in a Florida lake.

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Photo: 123rf.com

Local police said the victim - who may have hidden as officers investigated reports of two suspicious men in the Florida community of Barefoot Bay - was probably killed by the reptile.

The dead man's body was found by sheriffs' divers in a nearby lake 10 days after the incident.

The injuries were consistent with an alligator attack.

The area had recently been the target of a number of burglaries and patrols had been stepped up.

Brevard County Police say the 22-year-old victim, Matthew Riggins, went missing on 13 November after telling his girlfriend that he planned to go out to commit burglaries with another man.

Locals called police to say two suspicious men in black were walking behind homes.

Officers say they think they disturbed the pair and that at some point the man was eaten.

Divers found Riggins' body - missing parts of both legs and an arm - in a lake in the town.

After the reptile was removed from the lake and put down, authorities analysed the contents of the alligator's stomach and confirmed the remains were from Matthew Riggins.

It has been reported that the man's accomplice has been arrested.

Tod Goodyear, from the local sheriff's office in Brevard County, called Riggins' death "unfortunate" and says he thinks that the pair were trying to evade capture by hiding in the water.

"The person was at the wrong place at the wrong time," he told a local TV station.

Florida wildlife officials say that since 1948, there have been 22 known deaths caused by alligators in the state.