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    Sunday, July 21, 2024

    Groton City police call for help when python gets loose in a cruiser

    Groton ― Jay Johnson of Salem has been ridding homes of nuisance wildlife, snakes included, for more than two decades.

    But he can’t recall ever dealing with a python.

    The owner of the aptly named Critter Cop business said Thursday that the calls he receives come at all hours and can involve anything from a bat flying around inside someone’s house to a skunk lurking under a deck.

    The 12:30 a.m. call from the Groton City Police Department on Wednesday that there was a python in a police cruiser was a new one for him, Johnson said. He responded to the department at 295 Meridian St. to capture a 4-foot-long ball python that was loose in the back of a police cruiser.

    City Police Capt. Patricia Lieteau, said the snake was found late Tuesday at Ledgewood Condominiums on Meridian Street. At 9:48 p.m., Lieteau said someone called to report the snake was across the front entry of the apartment and believed it was someone’s pet. Officers were dispatched but were rerouted to another call and returned later to retrieve the snake.

    The two responding officers placed the snake in a container in the back seat of a police cruiser.

    “When they got to the PD they were surprised to find the snake had escaped the box and was loose in the back seat of the cruiser,” Lieteau said.

    Police contacted a representative from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection who identified the snake from a photo, but the agency was unable to come to collect it. Critter Cop was called and retrieved the snake around 1 a.m.

    Johnson said he arrived at the police department to find the snake entwined in the security bars that cover the back windows of the police cruiser.

    “They just rolled the window down and I grabbed it with my snake tongs,” Johnson said. “They just didn’t want to handle it themselves. I don’t blame them. This was kind of a unique experience for me.”

    Video of the incident is posted in the police department’s Facebook page with a title of “Snakes in a cruiser starring Officer Cooper.”

    “Please contact the police department to bond the snake out of critter jail,” the tongue-in-cheek post reads.

    Lieteau said someone did come in to the police department to claim it Wednesday afternoon but he was directed to Critter Cop.

    Johnson took the snake home with him. If it was a native snake, Johnson said he would have released it into the wild. Being an exotic animal, Johnson said he called in someone with more experience. A representative from Northeast Reptile Rescue now has the python.

    g.smith@theday.com

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