ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A woman “borrowed” an alligator from her previous job for a birthday photo shoot and placed it in a hotel bathtub, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission .
Officials said a man was killed on Sept. 4 after the Orange County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance with a baby alligator that a woman named Madison Stephan kept in a hotel bathroom. FWC officers were dispatched to The Grove Resort and Water Park in Winter Garden. , according to the incident report.
Steph told officials she used to work at Alligator Encounters in Tampa.
She said she “borrowed” the alligator without permission and brought it to the hotel to take photos with it as a birthday present, the incident report states.
Officials said she went to the wildlife facility before it opened and caught the alligator using a key she still had.
She then took the alligator back to the hotel and placed it in the bathtub, officials said.
Croc Encounters and Grove Resort and Water Park are over an hour apart.
The woman’s friend told officials that Stephen “had a surprise for her” after driving to the Alligator Encounter Center and catching the alligator, according to the incident report.
FWC officials said the alligator was “cold to the touch” because it was in the cold water of the tub, according to the incident report.
Officers also contacted the owner of Croc Encounters, who confirmed that Stephen had worked there but was no longer an employee.
He said she did not have permission to enter the property or remove the alligator, but declined to pursue charges of theft or trespassing.
That afternoon, the alligator was returned to the Alligator Encounter Center.
Stephen received a notice to appear in court for possession of a crocodile.