Chicago Tribune

Snake Charmer Must Now Work Magic on Landlord

September 16, 1993 | By Phil Borchmann, Special to the Tribune.


An Elgin resident may have gotten himself into a lose-lose situation over the weekend.

Jeffrey Ross lost his 10-foot Burmese python Sunday and now may lose his apartment.

"We told him (Ross) he had to get rid of the snake or move. When we checked during a follow-up visit, the snake was gone," said landlord Michael Wahl. "Now we might have to get rid of him (Ross)."

Earlier in the year, a tenant in a building, at 1755 Maple Lane, saw a snake, which allegedly belonged to Ross, and complained to Wahl.

Wahl said he quickly issued Ross the ultimatum.

Since that time, nobody else had seen the snake, Wahl said.

That was until Sunday night.

An unidentified neighbor called police shortly after 10 p.m. when she noticed the snake lying 35 feet from the six-flat building, according to Elgin Police Sgt. Larry Lundsberg.

Before police attempted to capture the reptile, they consulted with an officer who is familiar with snakes, Lundsberg said.

The officer informed them that, though highly unlikely, a python could lunge and grab a victim and suffocate them, especially if the person smells like prey after touching an animal, such as a rodent.

Officers then called Elgin-based Suburban Wildlife Control, a commercial operation that traps live animals found in the nooks and crannies of homes, and then relocates them to their natural habitats.

The police turned the python over to Suburban Wildlife owner Brad Lundsteen, who kept it until Wednesday, when a licensed snake breeder from Wisconsin picked it up.

"He (Ross) called and wanted it back, but I couldn't do it. . . . It would have been illegal," Lundsteen said.

According to police, Ross was keeping the reptile in violation of a local ordinance.

Ross may never see his snake again, but he should expect a visit real soon from his landlord, Wahl said.

Ross could not be reached for comment.

Copyright © 1993 — Chicago Tribune

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