A 20-year-old Louisiana man faces burglary, trespassing and theft of services charges after he entered an alligator pit in Florida, police said. A person recorded the man trespassing and uploaded a video to social media, leading to online speculation the misguided stunt was performed in pursuit of social media fame.
The man, whom police identified as Jacob Pursifull, allegedly jumped the fence of a theme park Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, and made his way to an alligator enclosure, police said in a statement. Two other people who were present do not face charges, police said.
In a TikTok video believed to document the event, Pursifull is shown near the alligator habitat mimicking the accent and mannerisms of the late Australian wildlife enthusiast Steve Irwin. Security is heard yelling at Pursifull to leave the enclosure.
Investigators used the social media posts to identify and find Pursifull. After an arrest warrant was issued, detectives arrested Pursifull Monday evening, officials said. He was booked into a local jail.
“We will not tolerate this blatant disregard of our safety rules and are working with law enforcement on this matter. The safety and well-being of our guests, ambassadors, and animals remain a top priority,” the theme park told NBC affiliate WFLA of Tampa.