"He was bigger than the one that was in Hope Mills Lake," Hope Mills resident Angel Hardee said. "I'd say he's every bit a six or seven foot long, but he had popped up back and forth about four times in a span of about 30 minutes. But in the past 40 minutes he hasn't popped back up. So we think he's down there in a hole, but we did see him this morning."
Hardee says she spotted the sharp-toothed reptile while looking out of her kitchen window. She says the gator was not more than a foot off the bank of the creek.
"I don't like him there," Hardee said. "This is where I take my daughter to swim. Beats going to Fantasy Lake and spending money, but this is our summer area and we can't do it with an alligator in the creek. They need to get him out."
The alligator disappeared before wildlife officers could capture it.
"What we're going to try to do, we've been having problems with this alligator," Wildlife Officer Randy Smith said. "If it's on private property or in somebody's private pond, we will try to remove him."
The gator has caused quite a stir ever since it was spotted last week in Hope Mills Lake. Since then, swimming has been banned.
Town leaders are now trying to determine when it's best to allow swimming once again. But it may be a tough sale to get people back in the water.
"Absolutely not," Hope Mills resident Laura Baillie said. "I'm not going to let my kids swim in there without them catching him and relocating him."
"I wouldn't want him to get too close to the kids," Hope Mills resident Melissa Golden said. "I wouldn't want any kids to be hurt though. So, I would say probably not."
Wildlife officers say they aren't sure which way the alligator is going. It could use the creek to loop around and get back into Hope Mills Lake or it could be headed to the Cape Fear River.