Florida Snake Trapper Charged with Crime for Setting Up Hoax Involving Python

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In the Summer of 2009, a Florida snake trapper, Justin Matthews, of Bradenton, Florida, purchased a snake. Then, he staged a trapping of the snake and alerted the police and media. Mr. Matthews wanted to make himself out as a hero by capturing the snake in a drainage pipe near a school or day care center. Mr. Matthews’ plans backfired on him when an investigation determined that the snake was actually previously purchased by Matthews and the whole event was staged. The trapping hoax cost the tax payers money and also may have put some children or others at risk if the snake escaped. The police resources as well as the media resources put out by this hoax would have been better used for people who really needed help. Mr. Matthews was recently charged with a felony (misusing the 911 emergency system) and a misdemeanor (maintaining wildlife in an unsafe manner).

Matthews was arrested Wednesday. He was charged with a third-degree felony for allegedly “misusing a 911 emergency system” and a second-degree misdemeanor for maintaining “captive wildlife in an unsafe manner – resulting in threats to the public’s safety.” You can read more about this story at Snake Trapping Hoax Results in Criminal Charges – Bradenton, Florida.