LOS ANGELES – Reggie (search) the alligator has disappeared and so have the reptile wranglers, who stopped their search — at least for now.
"We are considering this halftime," said Tim Williams, a 30-year gator handler with Florida theme park Gatorland (search) on Friday, when the search was called off. "He's won the first half."
Reggie was last spotted Sunday in Harbor City's Lake Machado (search), where he was first seen Aug. 12. Since then hundreds of visitors have flocked to the South Los Angeles park for a glimpse.
Police said the gator didn't get there by accident.
Two men, one a Los Angeles officer, were arrested this week for conspiring to release Reggie in the lake.
Williams said the gator has plenty of food to live on — frogs and crayfish inhabiting the lake, and tortillas and chicken legs left by visitors and park officials.
The city spent almost $50,000 to patrol the park and pay for the wranglers.
One man was making money.
Abraham Amezcua, 35, sold for $10 each T-shirts reading both in English and Spanish, "You'll Never Catch Me."
Williams said the gator may not be seen for a long time.
"He's spooked. He knows something is up," Williams said. "It may be that he pops up after everybody gets back here, or you may not see him for six months to a year."