Marching off to solitary
Reggie the alligator — the John Dillinger of semi-aquatic reptiles — was returned to custody Wednesday after having busted out of the slammer at the L.A. Zoo overnight.
Reggie, who had won international fame while eluding capture in a Harbor City lake for almost two years, was last seen in stir about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. About 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, zoo personnel discovered he’d blown the joint.
It was an hour and a half later when a search party of zoo handlers discovered him hiding out near a zoo loading dock.
“He’d found a comfortable bush to hang out under,” said handler Ian Recchio, who participated in the bust. “He was just sleeping there. Reggie was pretty heated up this morning. As the weather gets warm, alligators get more agile and stronger.”
Recchio said the 7 1/2 -foot, 120-pound fugitive “put up a little fight” as authorities laid hands on him. He then went quietly as he was hustled off to quarantine while zoo investigators tried to dope out his escape route and tightened security at his luxury cell. ..
Initial indications were that Reggie had climbed a chain-link fence at the back of his enclosure, then clambered over a series of brick ridges above it to freedom. Once on the ground, he followed another chain-link fence about 500 yards to the loading dock area.