Authorities believe rare alligator was stolen during fire

A rare alligator is missing.  Authorities in Sumter County, Florida are searching for "Snowball," a leucistic alligator.  Leucism is a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal.

Officials are investigating a suspicious fire that might have been a diversion to help the suspect cover their tracks.  The suspected arson happening at a building in Bushnell which housed 43 reptiles, including alligators and crocodiles. 

"I tried to grab the door and it was so hot, I singed my hand. I let go and the flames were shooting out of the metal on the side," said Robbie Keszey, owner of the facility.  "All I could think was, 'Oh my god, all my animals!'"

Keszy said all of the animals died in the fire, except for the rare gator.

If anyone has information about this case, or contact is made with this animal or one or similar markings, contact Sumter County Sheriff's Detective Chris Merritt at 352-793-2621 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).