ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Authorities in New Jersey snared an approximately 4-foot-long alligator in the Passaic River on Wednesday.

Police showed up to a marina off River Drive in Elmwood Park at around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday after receiving a call from a fisherman who spotted the 40-pound wading creature near the banks, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.

Elmwood Park police Chief Michael Foligno said authorities located the gator and then sent out two boats to keep an eye on it. About four hours later, the boats came off the water — one from the Fair Lawn Fire Department was carrying the reptile.

“They snared it, brought it in safely,” Foligno told 1010 WINS’ Rebecca Granet. “No harm to the animal, no harm to the officers, and everybody’s safe.”

The gator was placed in a plastic bin labeled “exotics” and driven away.

Foligno said the animal was most likely left there illegally.

“Sometimes in these situations, it’s someone’s pet they couldn’t control any longer, and they wanted to get rid of it so they just dumped it,” Foligno said.

Mayor Richard Mola said in his 44 years of serving he never had to deal with an issue quite like Wednesday’s.

“We’ve had some unusual situations occur here in the past, but never this,” Mola told Baker.

The mayor had been concerned about residents’ safety.

“We have a lot of people come here. They put up their little chairs, and they fish, and little kids come with the parents,” Mola said.

The gator drew some spectators.

“We saw him for quite a while,” Aaron Haber, of Fair Lawn, told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney. “We saw him swim all the way across the river … It’s definitely different.”

“We went to Florida. We didn’t see the alligator over there,” another man said. “We never expected it to be in our backyard here.”

For now the alligator will stay in a plastic container while State Fish and Wildlife looks for a local zoo or education center to take it.