16-foot ‘Banana’ stolen from Gator Country
Although most people wouldn’t touch a 16-foot python with a 16-foot pole, at least one perpetrator has proved the exception to the rule and has absconded with a 16-foot yellow Burmese Python going by the name “Banana” from Gator Country located at 21159 Hwy. 365.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reported the snake’s abduction April 30, and is requesting the public’s assistance in recovering the lost reptile. According to information from the JCSO, Banana was stolen between Sunday, April 22, at 5 p.m. and Tuesday, April 24, at 8 a.m. Banana was featured on “Gator 911” and is valued at $5,000. Deputy Rod Carroll of the JCSO said the agency waited through the weekend to allow the snake bandits an opportunity to show off their booty to potential witnesses.
“Right now, the problem is we haven’t developed many leads on this,” Carroll said, adding that he hopes citizens will call and report seeing this reptile out-and-about Southeast Texas the last few days. “We’re hoping someone has shown this thing to their buddies. We wanted this weekend to go by and give the buddies a chance to see the snake. It’s going to stand out.”
Carroll said there is no doubt the snake was stolen and not just lost.
“It was definitely stolen, it was locked up,” he said. “There was no way for the snake to escape. Gator Country doesn’t have a fence around it, so someone probably just parked along the road and came in and took it. It was probably two people, based on the size of the snake.”
Carroll said anyone who may have seen Banana this past week is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (409) 833-TIPS (8477); and the tip may garner a reward of up to $1,000 for the snake’s whereabouts. The actor or actors in this crime are facing charges of burglary of a building and felony theft, Carroll said, but other charges may also be levied. In the meantime, investigators are working for a quick reunion for Banana and Gator Country, for the good of the public and the stolen snake.
“It’s going to be high-maintenance,” Carroll said of Banana, adding that the python wasn’t akin to rearing the average puppy. “It’s not just something you can put in a little cage in the back yard. It’s kind of like having a pony and not knowing how to take care of it.”