Alligators Are Not Allowed in the Drive-Thru

drive thru, alligator, florida

This Week’s Wacky Wednesday: Alligators Are Not Allowed in the Drive-Thru

Florida tends to show up a lot in these types of articles, but it really is the state that keeps on giving when it comes to strange criminals and legal cases. It seems like there’s always something in the news happening in Florida. There’s often so much that some things get overlooked. For example, did you hear about the guy who threw an alligator into a Wendy’s?

How Could Something So Ridiculous Happen?

A man named Joshua James, 24, was arrested after he threw a 3.5-foot alligator through a Wendy’s drive-thru in Palm Beach County in 2015. According to wildlife officer Nicholas Guerin, James drove his truck to the Wendy’s at around 1:20 a.m. on October 11, 2015. When the employee gave James his drink, he proceeded to throw the alligator through the window.

Officer Guerin was able to capture the alligator and release it into the wild. He says that no one in the restaurant was injured when the gator was thrown at them. It took time to track down James using video surveillance and a purchase he made at a nearby convenience store.

James admitted to throwing the alligator when he was taken into custody by US Marshalls and interviewed in December 2015. He told the authorities that he had found the alligator on the side of the road and decided to put it into his truck.

The Palm Beach Sheriff’s office said he was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with intent to do less than murder, illegally killing, possessing, or capturing an alligator, and second-degree larceny petty theft. When he appeared in court in 2016, his bail was set at $6,000. He was barred from being around any animals except for his family’s dog.

At the time of this arrest, James did not have a criminal record. He only had a few traffic tickets, so it’s not like he was known to the authorities to be a problem.

What Did Mommy Say?

The 24-year-old’s mother came to his defense saying that he just did it as a prank because he knows someone who works at that Wendy’s. She said that he’s a prankster and pulls stunts like that because he thinks it’s funny.

When she was asked whether she thought that the employees at Wendy’s saw it as a harmless prank, she said, “How could you not think something like that was a prank?”

Of course, since most people don’t have 3.5-foot long reptiles thrown at them regularly, it’s hard to say just how someone is supposed to react or what they are supposed to think.

Was the Alligator Dangerous?

It’s an alligator. It has the potential to be dangerous, even at that size. While it was likely traumatized and scared, according to James P. Ross, who used to work at the University of Florida’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. He said that if the alligator’s body struck someone it might cause an injury. He also said that the bite from the alligator would be about the same as a dog bite. Fortunately, though, no one working at the Wendy’s had to find out the hard way what it feels like to be bitten by an alligator.

What Happened to Joshua James?

When James finally went to court, he apologized for what he had done. Judge Barry Cohen said it was one of the most bizarre cases he’d ever seen in his 25 years as a judge.

James pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges. The judge sentenced James to a year of probation, a $500 fine, and 75 hours of community service. He denied a request from the defense to keep the convictions off his record. James is also supposed to stay away from Wendy’s.