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Alligator caught 'window shopping' at Florida strip mall

UPI News Service, 03/06/2018 

An antique shop employee spotted an alligator wandering around a strip mall in Florida on Monday.

Denise Nichols-Gearhardt of Junque in the Trunk antique and consignment shop in Flagler was giving two customers a tour of renovations at the strip mall when she saw the alligator's reflection through a window.

"I am a native Floridian and am not spooked by them, but I do know not to startle them and to get out of their way," Nichols-Gearhardt said.

She quickly instructed the customers to return to their vehicle as she made her way back inside the store for safety.

Alligators had previously traveled through the strip mall attempting to make their way to retention ponds on either side, but typically walked through the parking lot.

Nichols-Gearhardt began filming the gator's journey, joking that it stopped to do some window shopping in the middle of its stroll.

"The alligator, seeing the reflection in the door of America's Donuts tapped his nose against the door ... we joked that he was trying to get a donut!" she said.

Nichols-Gearhardt called Flagler Beach police, who arrived on the scene and carefully guided the gator to the pond.

She said she was lucky to have spotted the gator before its journey brought it inside her store.

"I had the door to the store open all day ... if I wouldn't have walked outside and saw him he probably would have ended up inside," she said.

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