Fisherman reports seeing an alligator in Lake Glenview

Mount Prospect resident Nick Vitogiannes went to Lake Glenview Tuesday morning to catch some fish.

What he caught instead, he said, was a glimpse of what appeared to be an alligator.

Vitogiannes, a musician, said he is a huge fisherman on his down time.

This was his first time at the lake.

"We have family that live in Glenview, and everyone always recommended it, saying it's a great area for bass fishing."

Normally he would bring his kayak or fish off a dock, but he decided to stand on the shore near a bridge.

"This was one of the first times I went out without bringing my kayak," he said. "They have a huge dock there, but it was very windy and choppy. I'm like I'm really not going to catch much here. So that's why I moved closer to the bridge that separates the pond and the open lake that's there."

After a couple of casts with artificial bait, he spotted an object with a head as big as his forearm, he said. Vitogiannes said it reminded him of an alligator he saw when he visited Hilton Head, South Carolina.

"His head popped out of the water," he said. "The head was from my elbow to my wrist."

When he brought his cast back, the animal started to turn toward him.

"I was about 20 feet away from him on the shore. In a split of a second I yelled at him and then he went under and took off toward that open lake."

Vitogiannes said he contacted Glenview police, who suggested it might have been a snapping turtle.

But he said a snapping turtle's head is only about 6 or 7 inches.

He added that as the creature moved away from him, it swam in a serpentine pattern.

"A turtle doesn't do that," he said.

He said he is concerned, because the area was packed.

"There were people walking and running, fishing, a lot of kids. I just don't want anyone to get hurt," he said.

Glenview police were not available for comment. However, they posted this message on Facebook: "The Village received a report from a fisherman that he'd seen an alligator in Lake Glenview. Nothing was found after a search by the Public Service Officer who handles the Police Department's animal control services."

The post continued, "The Village's Natural Resources Manager notes that the lake contains many snapping turtles. The Village will continue to monitor the situation. Caution is always appropriate when visiting a natural resource that attracts wildlife."

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