Rare alligator missing after arson fire in central Florida, deputies say

Dozens of alligators, crocodiles killed in blaze at reptile sanctuary

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BUSHNELL, Fla. – A rare white alligator is missing after an arsonist set fire to a reptile sanctuary Friday night in central Florida, authorities said. More than 40 alligators and crocodiles died in the fire.

Sumter County sheriff's deputies believe the arsonist set the fire in order to cover up the theft a rare leucistic alligator named Snowball. The building was gutted, deputies said.

Deputies are now asking for the public's help to find the alligator.

Robbie and Stephen Keszey, who starred in the reality TV show "Swamp Brothers," owned the sanctuary, Animal Crossings of Florida, which provided reptiles to exhibitors.

“Snowball is my friend,” Robbie Keszey told the Daily Commercial of Leesburg. “We were going to make him ambassador to our zoo.”

Keszey said Snowball was in the building that morning, but the alligator could not be found after the fire.

“Snowball is one of only 10 leucistic alligators worldwide,” Keszey told the newspaper.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Sumter County Sheriff's Detective Chris Merritt at 352-793-2621.