Thieves fly the coop with exotic parrots

Three thieves flew the coop with five exotic parrots in Jeffreys Bay on New Year’s Day while fireworks were going off in the coastal town.
The parrots, worth a collective R50,000, were stolen from the headquarters of the Sandown Pet Centre in Goedehoop Street.
Pet centre owner Mike Stanley said two blue and gold Macaws, one severe Macaw and two African Grey parrots were stuffed into sacks and stolen.
“We are asking everybody to be on the look out for these birds,” he said.
“I suspect the thieves might try sell them in Port Elizabeth or Knysna.”
He said this was because Jeffreys Bay was a small town and he would hear of anyone trying to sell five parrots locally.
Stanley, who lives on the property of the pet centre, said the parrots started to sound agitated just after midnight.
“There was an explosion of fireworks at that time and I assumed that the fireworks and exploding crackers were causing the parrots’ agitation.
“I decided not to investigate because of the cacophony at the time, figuring there was nothing I could do to help.”
But just after 3am, a resident driving past the property saw three men fleeing with sacks.
“I think they came back later at 3am to finish off the job. I suspect they were disturbed after midnight,” Stanley said.
The thieves gained access by entering a neighbouring property and making a hole in an adjoining wooden fence.
“Obviously, we will have to add more stringent security measures to prevent further robberies,” he said.
Despite the property having CCTV footage, Stanley said the area the parrots were stolen from was too dark to clearly identify the criminals.
“But we have been able to establish a timeline of the events as they unfolded.”
He said all the parrots had distinctive calls and tended to call loudly, primarily at dusk and dawn.
“These birds have all been hand-raised, and are like children to us.
“We need help to return these beautiful creatures to where they belong,” he said.
Stanley said a R5,000 reward would be offered for the safe return of the parrots.
“Any leads or information which can lead to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators will also be recompensed accordingly with R2,000.”
Police spokesperson Sergeant Majola Nkohl said the matter was being investigated.
Anyone with information should contact Detective Warrant Officer Francois Scott on 042-200-6600.

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