WEST BEND, WI. -- A sexual assault investigation led police to hundreds of snakes, mice and other reptiles. Police pulled more than 400 animals from a West Bend home Friday night, June 1.
Police found them in the basement of a home on Indiana Avenue, WITI reports. It took West Bend police, city workers, the Wisconsin DNR and the help of the Milwaukee County Zoo to remove the animals.
"Very disturbing. I was a little freaked out," said Crystal Fredrick, neighbor. "I came home from work and there was lots of cops and city workers."
Police arrested a 42-year-old man for sexual assault and false imprisonment. While they were inside his home, officials noticed a foul odor coming from the basement. When they walked downstairs, they found hundreds of snakes, mice and other reptiles.
"When I got home and into the backyard, they already had the snakes loaded up in the back of this flatbed," said Brad Aylesworth, neighbor.
Aylesworth lives next door. He watched as investigators pulled animals from the home.
"I was like 'wow.' I hate snakes, I hate snakes to begin with," said Aylesworth.
Authorities removed 160 snakes, more than 250 mice, as well as several dart frogs and geckos from the home. Police say many were in poor health, and some were dead.
"When I was cutting the grass and they had the reptiles out, the truck stunk," said Aylesworth. "You could smell the bedding inside those things. That stunk."
Neighbors say they don't know the man who lives in the home, and never had any idea what might have been happening inside. They just want their neighborhood to get back to normal.
"I just hope they clean it up and move forward," said Fredrick.
The 42-year-old man is being held in the Walworth County Jail on charges of false imprisonment and sexual assault.
West Bend police tell us more charges and code violations are expected.