Fla. robber gets bit by poisonous snakes

By Katie Fretland
Orlando Sentinel

BUSHNELL, Fla. When employees at the local Wal-Mart saw a man wandering around their store with blood-stained clothes Monday morning, they became suspicious and called police.

But Jonathan Lafever hadn't been wounded in a fight or from a gunshot he was just snakebit.

Police said Lafever, 20, stole five snakes, including two poisonous rattlers, from a nearby residence and was apparently bitten during the robbery.

A Sumter County Sheriff's deputy searched Lafever's silver Mitsubishi Eclipse and found boxes containing two venomous rock rattlesnakes, a Honduran milk snake, a rat snake and a Southern hognose snake.

The snakes apparently came from a backyard shed at Jack Hildreth's home. The Sheriff's Office said the shed's aluminum door was ripped open and five snakes were stolen between 2 and 3 .a.m. A sign in red block letters attached to the shed warned of venomous reptiles.

"I've got an albino boa that's 6 feet long," Hildrethsaid. "If the guy knew what he was doing, that would have been a good snake to grab."

Two of the snakes found in Lafever's car were returned to Hildreth immediately. The other three were kept to help identify which type bitLafever, who was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Sheriff's Lt. Bobby Caruthers said it was one of the rock rattlesnakes that bit Lafever on the finger. Hildreth said he would press charges. 

Copyright 2007 Sun-Sentinel Company

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