NEPTUNE, New Jersey (PIX11) — A young alligator in a plastic container was abandoned in an empty New Jersey lot recently, and authorities are searching for the culprit, officials said.

A good Samaritan found the animal on Bangs Avenue in Neptune and reported the incident to the Monmouth County SPCA, the agency said in a Facebook post. The juvenile alligator is being cared for at the shelter.

The reptile was placed in a clean tank and kept in a climate-controlled area before it is transferred to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, officials said.

It is illegal to have alligators in the Garden State since the exotic species are considered dangerous, according to Ross Licitra, executive director of the MCSPCA.

“Not only is it a danger to the public, but these animals, when kept in captivity, need very specific care that only professionals can provide,” Licitra said in the social media post.

A representative for the MCSPCA could not immediately be reached Tuesday.

The MCSPCA Humane Law Enforcement Division is seeking the public’s help in locating the individual who abandoned the alligator. Anyone with information is asked to contact MCSPCA Humane Law Enforcement at 732-440-1539. Calls will remain anonymous.