WHAT A CROC: Missouri cops didn't take any chances when responding to a report of an alligator sighting, so they decided to shoot the critter -- only to find out that they'd just bagged a lawn ornament.

Independence police spokesman Tom Gentry says a neighbor called them after his kids reported seeing a gator lurking in the nearby weeds. When they got there, deputies – who’d been told to fire at will if they felt they or anyone else was at danger - warned the kids away and opened fire.

It wasn't until after the second rifle shot bounced off the gator’s head that the officers realized it was a concrete lawn ornament.The land owner said he'd put the fake gator there to scare kids away from his property.

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