SPCA: Man attempted to flee with dangerous reptiles in car

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LEVITTOWN -

An array of reptiles that are illegal to sell were seized Monday from a car being driven away from a Seaford home, according to the Nassau SPCA.

Gary Rogers, with the Nassau SPCA, says they were about to conduct a search warrant at a home on Gillings Road when 27-year-old Anthony Cammarata allegedly loaded up the car with the reptiles and tried to take off.

“They were loaded so badly and so quickly in the back,” says Rogers. “One of the venomous gila monsters was climbing out of the back.”

Five gila monsters, three bearded lizards, an American alligator and two dwarf caiman were among the reptiles.

Police say they also found a loaded handgun, ammunition and illegal drugs in the car when it was stopped in the driveway.

Harry Thomasson, Cammarat’s attorney, said that his client was “picking up a vehicle that he does not own at a house he does not own, and the vast majority of what was in that vehicle was in the trunk and he had no knowledge of what was in the trunk.”

The home belongs to Cammarata's uncle, 50-year-old Douglas DelleCave, the owner of the Reptile Rage store in Levittown. The SPCA says it believes DelleCave may be breeding and selling the illegal reptiles.

DelleCave was released without having to post bail after being charged with failing to protect the public from a wild reptile. The SPCA says the door was unlocked on a glass enclosure that housed a water monitor lizard. The enclosure was 4 feet off the ground.

DelleCave's attorney Marc Gann says the reptile was secure and that his client knows how to handle these exotic animals.

“He's owned this shop for 30 years. He's had this animal for years. The [Department of Environmental Conservation] has been in and out of his premises on a number of occasions over the years. It's never been an issue,” says Gann.

Cammarata was held on $25,000 bail.

The SPCA says the reptiles were transferred out of state to a sanctuary.

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