A 20-year-old male who jumped into the alligator exhibit at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (BGTB) and posted a video of the incident on TikTok will avoid a felony conviction if he completes the terms of a pretrial intervention agreement approved last week.
Jacob Ryan Pursifull was arrested on the 5th June, 2023, after he jumped over a fence to get into BGTB and jumped over another fence to get into the exhibit as another person filmed video, which was then posted on TikTok, according to police. Pursifull and the two co-defendants were charged with burglary and petty theft. The 20-year-old was also charged with trespassing.
The burglary charge is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. Judge Michael S. Williams recently approved the agreement struck by the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office and Pursifull’s attorney.
As part of the agreement, the 20-year-old must complete 75 hours of community service, pay $134.99 in restitution to BGTB, submit a letter of apology to the park and take down “all social media posts/podcasts” related to the incident. He must also have no contact with the park, among other conditions.
Erin Maloney, a spokesperson for the state attorney’s office, told Tampa Bay Times in an email that Pursifull did not have a prior criminal record and that Busch Gardens “was satisfied with the resolution.”
The cases of Pursifull’s co-defendants were still pending this week, court records indicate. Stay tuned for possible updates.
Within days of the incident, BGTB erected a higher fence around the alligator exhibit. X user @EthanHershaft posted the following photos of the higher fence:
Ever since the incident of the person climbing into the alligator enclosure, Busch Gardens has installed some new fencing around the exhibit. There were some green barricades surrounding the area as the construction finishes, but the exhibit will be open again tomorrow (June 17) pic.twitter.com/CvT6sJ1XVo— Ethan the eerie (@EthanHershaft) June 17, 2023
Stay tuned to Orlando Theme Park Zone for more Orlando theme park-related news and information.
H/T Tampa Bay Times
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