A cashier at a Wendy’s restaurant got the shock of their life after a mischievous customer allegedly threw a live, 3-and-a-half foot alligator through the drive-thru window. According to WPTV, US Marshals arrested 23-year-old Joshua James this week after an incident in Royal Palm Beach, Florida late last year. Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) say that James pulled up to the drive-thru window for his order, picked up a drink, and then launched the scaly reptile into the restaurant. He is now facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, illegally capturing an alligator, and second-degree petit larceny theft.
The Washington Post reports that investigators were able to track down James by using the surveillance video and a receipt of the order. After being confronted by authorities, James confessed to picking up the animal from the side of the road, putting it in the back of his truck, and transporting it to the restaurant. Those who know James say he was fascinated with alligators and other large reptiles, even citing the late Steve Irwin as a personal hero.
“It was just a stupid prank that he did that’s now turning into this; it’s stupid,” his mother, Linda James, told WPTV. “He’s a prankster. He does stuff like this because he thinks it’s funny.”
Officials did not think it was so funny, and stressed that alligators can be dangerous wild animals that should never be picked up, least of all thrown. Wildlife officials were able to retrieve the alligator involved in the incident and release it in a nearby canal.
James appeared at court on Tuesday and was ordered to undergo a mental health screening. He is also banned from entering or ordering from Wendy’s restaurants.
The FWC states that it receives reports of around five unprovoked alligator bites every year, and while fatalities are rare, they are also not unheard of.
You can see pictures of the alligator below:
Image courtesy Jarrod Grammel/US Department of Agriculture