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In the eyes of Independence, Missouri police officers, the difference between a burglar and a fake alligator may just be limited to each entity's penchant for ignoring the law.
Unable to fight off the fugitive beast on Saturday evening, officers shot the fake alligator in the head.
The bullet bounced off. So they tried again.
Independence, located in the suburbs just outside Kansas City, is not known for its alligators. In fact, it's too cold and too far north for the gator population to survive, reports Reuters.
Even so, when police received a call that an alligator was hanging out at a local suburban lake, they responded with arms drawn.
Officers were baffled when the first shot--which hit the alligator's head--bounced off, reports Reuters.
So of course, they shot the alligator again.
Turns out the beast was actually a fake alligator--a lawn ornament made of cement, notes Reuters. A nearby landowner had placed him by the lake to keep kids off of his property.
Sadly enough, a fake alligator is not the best way to deter children from trespassing.
Landowners owe a higher duty of care to children under negligence law when their property contains an "attractive nuisance."
What this means is that, when property houses something that is of particular interest to children, a landowner has a special duty to ensure that trespassing children are not harmed.
So, in reality, placing a very cool--but very fake--alligator near a pond has probably increased the landowner's liability should a child suffer injury, and has likely attracted children to his property.