From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1997:
Just a handful of alleged bird thieves have ever been
caught, including a woman who was charged on September
17 with stealing a Goffin cockatoo from the Village Pet
Center in Midvale, Utah, by stuffing the bird into a diaper
bag. She reportedly admitted to police that she resold the
cockatoo three weeks later to another pet store for $600, 60%
of the estimated retail value.
Akron police officer Tom Miksch in March 1995
made the first pinch of a parrot thief that ANIMAL PEOPLE
has on record. Miksch recovered a Moluccan cockatoo valued
at $2,499 in the first animal-related crime he said he had
handled in 25 years on the force. One of the two alleged perpetrators,
Gary L. Peavler, 39, had 90 previous adult arrests
and 42 prior convictions, the Akron Beacon-Journal reported,
on charges including mutiple counts of intoxication, plus
cases of assault, petty theft, and gross sexual imposition.
Louis Robert Francis Jr., 41, of Perkasie,
Pennsylvania, was a parrot trade professional. The former
owner of Tailfeathers Exotic Bird Store was charged with
three counts of theft and three counts of receiving stolen property
in May 1996 for allegedly selling birds who were brought
to him for grooming, temporary housing, and preparation to
mate. Francis told police it was all a misunderstanding.
A Crimestoppers hotline tip in August 1996 brought
charges against William Sagan, 22, and Jennifer Selvaggi,
27, of Shirley, New York, for taking a two-year-old African
grey parrot from a local pet store two months earlier. Their
customer turned them in upon realizing that the $400 she had
paid was only a third of the going price of African greys.
In London, England, Clive McLoud, 40, in
September 1996 drew 15 months in jail for stealing a cockatoo
who recognized and identified his owner when the owner
appeared at the police station––thereby putting the lie to
McLoud’s contention that the cockatoo, found in severely
debilitated condition, was his own.
In a similar case, one year earlier, Carmen Ferreira
of Melbourne, Austalia, recovered her stolen galah,
Racquel, two years after someone snatched the bird from her
garden, when Racquel greeted her through a neighbor’s window.
Ferreira won a civil suit to regain possession of Racquel
after Racquel identified Ferreira’s grandson and pet cat by
name for magistrate Bernie Coburn.
Despite the reputation of parrots, in particular, for
talking and even squealing, police in South Wales had to
resort to a lineup last February to reunite 45 allegedly stolen
birds with their owners. The birds included canaries, doves,
cockatiels, budgies, and finches, apparently all taken by one
14-year-old boy––whose record at keeping them alive and
well seems to have been significantly better than that of most
adult bird thieves.