UPDATE: Arrest made following missing python search in Monongalia County; snake still on the loose

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV) -- UPDATE 6/27/19 time 10:40 a.m. A 19-year-old was arrested in connection to the missing Monongalia County python that's been on the loose for nearly a month.

Police said Shane Stevens, of Morgantown, was the owner of the snake. He was arrested Wednesday and charged with allowing an animal to run at large. He was booked and released on a $100 bond, officials said Thursday.

The snake has been on the loose for nearly a month and is believed to still be at large, Morgantown officials confirmed.

Morgantown Police said the 15-foot snake escaped its enclosure in Stevens' truck while he was transporting the python, which measured four inches in diameter. Stevens got out of the truck and the snake escaped into the woods, officials said.

It was last seen on a hillside near Listravia Avenue and hasn't been seen since.

The community was put on alert while emergency officials launched a search effort that included foot patrols and a drone in the air to locate the snake.

The search has since been called off, but anyone who may see the snake should call 911 immediately.

UPDATE 5/31/19 time 6PM
"I thought maybe someone was breaking into the house or somebody was around the house who shouldn't be. I think I might have preferred that other than a giant snake," said neighbor, Brandon Brammer.

Brammer lives next door to where police believe a 15-foot python has escaped to. According to police a man was driving with the snake in an enclosure in his car. While driving it escaped.

When the snake got out of its enclosure it went into the woods and climbed up this tree.

"He's definitely right around in here," said Emily Sanders, Owner of Exotic Jungle.

Search efforts began early this morning near Listravia Avenue in Sabraton.

5 News: "This is a danger for small pets and children correct?
"Oh absolutely and for us if he's that big," said Sanders.

Sanders believes the snake had been eating chickens and even if it's not in need of another meal it can kill anything and leave it.

"I tried to explain to her how big that was. I said, that's like three times as big as mommy," said concerned neighbor, Tabitha Gorbey.

"I think it's really scary," Gorbey's daughter.

Gorbey said she rushed home from work when she heard about the snake. With a child and a dog on her watch she's taking precaution.

"I told her that she wasn't allowed to play outside."

MECCA 911 and Morgantown Police sent up a drone in hopes that the snake would show up on the screen. In the mean time, several people were on foot searching everywhere they could.

5 News: "So what is this [tool] exactly?"

"This is my makeshift snake hook here. It's technically a weed eater, but we've been using it to knock down the weeds and make sure the snake doesn't see us first," said Brammer.

Nearly a dozen people drove by asking if the snake was found and if there was any way they could help.

"That is really crazy. It's kind of scary that's why I'm happy I'm in a car. You guys are a little more brave than we are," said one passerby, Lawton Parnell.

Police told Brammer the best thing to do was shut his doors and windows, but he says this wasn't enough.

"I didn't stay here because I didn't want to wake up with a snake cuddling me."

"We're on a snake out. It looks like a party. We need to bring some beers next time with us," said Parnell.

ORIGINAL STORY 5/31/19 11:59 AM
A large python escaped from a man's truck in Monongalia County Thursday night and officials say it is still on the loose.

The 15-foot-4-inch python escaped its enclosure in a man's truck in the Sabraton area, according to a press release from the City of Morgantown. The snake then escaped the truck, went to the woods, and climbed a tree.

Nobody was able to find the snake after it climbed the tree.

It was last seen in that tree next to Listravia Avenue above the stop light beside Sheetz, officials said Friday.

Anyone who sees it should call 911 and not approach the snake. Officials warn residents to pay close attention to kids and small pets when outdoors.