A man claims his famous pet alligator TikTok is ‘held hostage’ after being picked up by police.
Joshua Applebaum, 40, was involved in a high-speed chase before crashing his car when police tried to arrest him for speeding earlier this month.
When deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department in Florida, USA slashed Applebaum, they were shocked to find an alligator in the vehicle.
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“The passenger, ‘Karen’ the alligator, attempted to flee the scene but was taken into custody after a short scuffle,” the department posted on Facebook.
“Karen does not face any charges at this time.”
Karen was then taken to Cicchelli Second Chance Rescue and Exotics – but Applebaum now wants the four-foot reptile back.
He told TSWT 2, “I was trying to protect what was mine, basically the most precious thing in my life. I freaked out.”
He said he posted bail within days of his arrest and immediately began trying to get Karen back. The emergency services refuse to hand it over.
“I don’t have Karen in my custody. She’s being held hostage right now,” Applebaum continued.
Applebaum uploads videos of Karen to TikTok, where she has amassed nearly 300,000 followers across two accounts.
He said: “She sleeps with me like a puppy. My ex-girlfriend didn’t like her and she said, ‘Why don’t you call her Karen, nobody likes a Karen’.”
However, rescue chief April Cicchelli claims he cannot attend to her needs and refuses to hand her over.
She said: “I don’t care in the world that she’s famous on TikTok.
“He started showing aggressive behavior, disrespectful behavior towards us and our establishment.
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“We’re not willing to mistakenly put one of our alligators in a homeless situation, fleeing the police, living in a car.”
Cicchelli claims that Applebaum went to his establishment and demanded the return of the alligator.
The two are said to be willing to take the dispute to civil court.