Burglar eaten by alligator while hiding from police

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

An 11-foot alligator helps authorities solve a criminal mystery.

Authorities say a burglar was hiding from police in a Florida pond when the gator struck. Neighbors say the suspect got what he deserved. “I would say it was poetic justice, if you want to sit there and steal from people….”

Chuck Stokes is just one of the barefoot bay neighbors whose heard the tale.

An accused burglar on the run from deputies in the middle of the night November 13th. That man was 22-year- old Matthew Riggins.

Investigators say Riggins called his girlfriend and told her he’d be down in this area breaking into homes. Neighbors reported seeing two men dressed in all black lurking behind homes. That began a search of the area, with more and more deputies, k-9 units and a helicopter arriving to help.

Investigators say Riggins called his girlfriend saying they were being chased and were laying low.

Deputies called off the search that night — but then Riggins’ family reported him missing later that day. “He probably went into the lake to hide from the officers and the dog, and at some point he came across that gator.”

That’s right — an 11-foot alligator.

Riggins’ body was found floating in a pond ten days later.

Investigators say it had all the makings of a gator attack.

The BCSO dive team encountered the same gator for themselves during the recovery, and the animal had to be euthanized by an FWC trapper. Inside the gator’s stomach the medical examiner found proof of how Riggins was killed.

Authorities say they have a second suspect but that he hasn’t been cooperating.

That person has yet to be charged.