A 23-year-old Green Cove Springs man was discovered at approximately 6:50 a.m. by St Augustine Police Officers near the lighthouse on Holly Lane. Public Information Officer Cecilia Aiple, told Historic City News that “he was wearing underwear, crawling on the resident’s lawn, and hiding in their bushes, apparently attempting to conceal himself”.
When police confronted the man, identifiedas Brandon Keith Hatfield who resides at 873 Cooks Lane in Green Cove Springs, hestated that he “had been bitten by an alligator”. He appeared to haveinjuries to his foot, according to the police report. Hatfield was transported to Flagler Hospitalfor emergency medical attention.
While officers were in route to the hospital, a call was dispatched to the St Augustine Alligator Farm to report that their attraction had been broken into the previous night and that a vandal, caught on surveillance video, can be seen damaging the property.
According to the Alligator Farm staff, located at 999 Anastasia Boulevard, they arrived Tuesday morning and found what appeared to be a “Croc” style slip-on sandal in the crocodile pit. They told police that the discovery prompted staff to review the surveillance tape. It was later discovered the two calls were related.
The surveillance video shows that at approximately 7:45 p.m. Monday night Hatfield entered the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and damaged property to numerous exhibits and statues around the complex. Hatfield is visible when he entered the Nile Crocodile enclosure, known as “Oasis on the Nile”. He climbed atop a structure displaying Egyptian artwork and Gabon vipers.
Hatfield jumped into the pool with the crocodiles. The surveillance video shows Hatfield beingattacked by the crocodiles. Aconsiderable amount of blood was found on a zip line platform.
The defendant was apprehended by the St. Augustine Police Department and charged with burglary, criminal mischief with over $5,000 in damage, and two counts of violation of probation. After Hatfield was medically cleared, he was transported to the St. Johns County jail