Police in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville captured a 4-foot-long crocodile Wednesday near a T.J. Maxx store in a strip mall.
Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther says the animal apparently escaped from a box left in front of a reptile shop called The Serpentarium with a sign saying "Nile Crocodile. Contact Rescue."
Authorities say the crocodile is feisty but had duct tape wrapped around its jaws.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Lt. Patrick Foy says the agency is "reasonably sure" the animal is indeed a Nile crocodile. It's looking for a zoo or other facility to take it.
Foy says the crocodile appears to have broken teeth, perhaps from biting wire cages.
California bans ownership of crocodiles.