An arson fire Thursday morning at the GW Interactive Zoo killed several reptiles and burned a recording studio.
Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes said there are still no suspects in the arson, but they're hoping that'll change once they review surveillance video.
The building that houses the alligators was completely destroyed by fire.
Entertainment Director Joe Schreibvogel, also known as Joe Exotic, says it will cost a quarter of a million dollars to fix, and federal court records show he's already in bankruptcy.
"The building can be replaced the equipment can be replaced but Michael Jackson's alligators cannot be replaced," Schreibvogel said.
Schreibvogel maintains that one of two alligators killed in the fire was once owned by the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The other alligator reportedly once owned by Jackson suffered severe smoke inhalation and is recovering.
First of all, let's pour a little out for the world's unluckiest alligator. The poor thing was owned by Michael Jackson and Joe Exotic. Even a fly on the wall cringes when he hears that. Who knows what crazy things that alligator witnessed over the years. The only other creatures that could even come close to empathizing with it are Biker Fox's raccoons:
So, who is the smooth criminal that started the blaze?
Rhodes said while there's no suspect right now. He hopes that surveillance video will lead them to a person of interest. Rhodes says whoever set this fire would have to have knowledge of the animal park and plan the crime in advance.
He also says items were stolen...but wouldn't comment on what exactly was taken. "Many times an arson fire may be used to cover a burglary or a theft to destroy evidence," Rhodes said. "And that is a very strong possibility in this case."
Schreibvogel says he's received threats before, and said this may be a form of harassment. "There's been allegations that these are results of animal rights group that may be targeting the park in the form of harassment and even vandalism," Rhodes said.
Okay, so the fire was set by one of those pesky animal rights activists. That makes sense. It surely wasn't set by Joe Exotic, the owner of the park who is apparently filing bankruptcy and could benefit from an insurance claim. It also wasn't the alligator. Although he had motivation to take his own life and swim in the humid swamps of alligator Heaven, he also lacked hands and a rudimentary understanding of fire.
Anyway, I'm not a FBI profiler or anything, but I don't think authorities will have to look too far to find the people behind this job. We know Joe Exotic loves cameras, so there has to be footage of the incident:
Oh, so the culprits knew where all the cameras were and burned them. That's interesting. We'll have more on this story as it develops. Hopefully the investigation gets picked up by Forensic Files or something.
In the meantime, here's Joe Exotic's newest music video to get you by while he's off-line. If this doesn't get you to donate to his cause, I'm not sure what will...