Police say an armed man went to the home of a drug dealer to collect on a debt. When the dealer couldn't pay, the collector made off with the dealer's 18-inch-long pet alligator.
"I think he was going to hold (the gator) for ransom, or something," Crawford County Sheriff Kirk Wakefield told the Traverse City Record-Eagle for a story Tuesday. "It's really weird."
The alleged gator-napping arose from a Sept. 25 drug bust at a house west of Frederic, a rural village 200 miles north of Detroit, Wakefield said.
Police confiscated a cache of drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine and Ecstasy pills, plus $900 in cash and two handguns.
"Apparently the guys we took this from owed somebody for what we took," Wakefield said. "That somebody hired this guy to go get that money."
The drug dealers from southern Michigan hired Gary Lee Gugin, 39, to round up a couple thousand dollars from the house near Frederic, the sheriff said.
Just after midnight Sunday, "He walked inside with a sawed-off shotgun and said he was there to collect that money," Wakefield said.
Finding none, he took the gator instead, the sheriff said.
Deputies were dispatched to Gugin's home north of Frederic and found him unloading the alligator from his vehicle, Wakefield said.
Gugin was arraigned Tuesday in district court on charges of armed robbery, first-degree home invasion, firearms possession by a felon and two other weapons charges.
He was held in the county jail without bond.
A criminal complaint signed by Prosecutor John Huss said Gugin had a prior conviction of manufacturing and delivering marijuana.
The alligator was returned to its owner.