LOS ANGELES – A man was sentenced to three years' probation after pleading no contest to illegally possessing an alligator that was dumped into an urban lake where it has eluded capture for months.
Anthony Brewer, 36, of Los Angeles, also was ordered Wednesday to complete 45 days of work for the California Department of Transportation, according to City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. It is illegal under California law to keep alligators as private pets.
A Superior Court commissioner set a restitution hearing in May to determine how much Brewer should repay of the $155,000 the city has spent on increased security around Harbor Regional Park's Machado Lake since the gator was discovered in August.
Five other misdemeanor counts against Brewer were dismissed in exchange for his plea.
"This was an effort by all concerned to resolve an interesting situation in Los Angeles history," said Brewer's attorney, Barry Bernstein.
A second man charged in the case, former Los Angeles police officer Todd Natow, is scheduled to be arraigned Friday on 14 misdemeanor counts.
Authorities say Brewer and Natow, 42, released the 7-foot reptile known as "Reggie" into the lake when it became too big to keep as a pet. They were arrested in August and charged with unlawful possession of restricted animals, releasing an alligator into the lake, causing a public nuisance and marijuana possession, according to the city attorney's office.
Reggie has eluded capture for months and is now thought to be in hibernation.