Elgin police safely get mysterious python out of family's garage

  • Elgin police officer Jordan Collins holds the 4-foot python that he got out of a residential garage on Friday morning. Officer Chad Benavidez helped.

    Elgin police officer Jordan Collins holds the 4-foot python that he got out of a residential garage on Friday morning. Officer Chad Benavidez helped. photo courtesy of Elgin police

  • Elgin police officer Jordan Collins holds the 4-foot python that he got out of a residential garage on Friday morning. Officer Chad Benavidez helped.

    Elgin police officer Jordan Collins holds the 4-foot python that he got out of a residential garage on Friday morning. Officer Chad Benavidez helped. photo courtesy of Elgin police

  • Jack Schambach and his father Eric were surprised to find this 4-foot python Friday morning on a workbench in their family's garage in Elgin.

    Jack Schambach and his father Eric were surprised to find this 4-foot python Friday morning on a workbench in their family's garage in Elgin. Photo courtesy of schambach family

 
 
Updated 9/13/2019 5:52 PM

"We have a problem," Eric Schambach told his wife Erika at about 4:45 a.m. Friday.

Yes, indeed, finding a 4-foot python on a workbench in the garage of your home in Elgin would be a problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The solution was two Elgin police officers -- Jordan Collins and Chad Benavidez -- who acted as an impromptu animal rescue team to safely get the snake out of the garage and bring it to Golf Rose Animal Services in Schaumburg.

"I'm very thankful for the police department," Erika Anderson Schambach said. "They do a wonderful job already and they did great."

It all started when 20-year-old Jack Schambach and his father, Eric, got up early as usual to go to their commercial concrete construction job. They live on Highland Avenue west of downtown Elgin and work for Tor Construction in South Elgin. They were about to head to a job site in Hammond, Indiana, and were putting their tools in their truck when Jack Schambach noticed the snake.

"At first I didn't think it was real because I have a lot of younger siblings and they have a lot of toys," he said. So he called his dad, who grabbed a flashlight.

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"I've never even seen garden snakes on our property, so I was pretty surprised," Eric Schambach said.

Then the snake moved. "It freaked the daylights out of both of us," Jack Schambach said.

At first Eric Schambach thought he might have to kill the snake, then called police at his wife's suggestion.

Jack Schambach stood guard until Collins arrived and took over watch. When Benavidez arrived, they conferred and asked for a pillow case. Collins took the lead on uncoiling and removing the snake, which was behind a welder and partly wrapped around the pistons of a miter box, he said. Then they dropped it into the pillow case.

"(Collins) said he had a boa constrictor for a pet when he was young, so he wasn't even afraid of this thing," Eric Schambach said. "He really calmly went over and grabbed the thing. It started hissing and he said, 'It might end up biting me but it's not like it didn't happen before when I was a kid.' It hissed but it never struck."

The python wasn't docile, his son said. "When the first police officer started getting too close, he snapped at him once," he said. "He also snapped at the second one, after they picked it up."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Mom Erika said she had no desire for a close encounter with the snake, so she watched the action from a window. "I woke up my four older kids because I figured they'd want to see it," she said. "I didn't wake up my younger kids because I'm pretty sure they didn't want to see it."

As of Friday afternoon, it was still unclear where the python came from. Staff members from Golf Rose Animal Services didn't have information immediately available.

"Our guess is that it was probably a pet and somehow got out of somebody else's garage," Jack Schambach said, "and found a place in our garage to stay dry while it was raining."

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