MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A rare and valuable bird was discovered stolen on Long Island this past weekend – snatched from a pet store while cameras were rolling.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported exclusively Monday, animal lovers John and Ida Ferreira can barely bring themselves to watch the wrenching video – a Memorial Day weekend burglary inside their pet store that targeted a helpless baby Goffin’s cockatoo.
“Very emotional when somebody does things to live animals — especially one that cannot survive on its own,” Ida Ferreira said.
A trio, said police, entered the For Birds Only on Jericho Turnpike in Mineola, and approached an employee in the rare bird room. They allegedly held the cockatoo and asked questions, such as, “Is the sale price really $1,800?”
The alleged thieves apparently worked in concert and tried to distract the worker, while waiting for other families to vacate the area. One woman acted as a lookout, while a man pulled out a small black towel, covered the bird, snatched it out of the open cage, and buried it in the third suspect’s bag.
They walked out waving. Five minutes later, the theft was discovered – and the bird and the culprits were long gone.
“Whoever took the bird, please at least try to feed him the right way,” Ida Ferreira said. “Don’t let him die.”
The 12-week-old Goffin’s cockatoo must be fed formula through a dropper. The bird’s sister and brother remain at the shop.
The birds are special and difficult to breed. They are native to Indonesia, and live to the age of 40.
The Ferreiras opened their popular pet store more than three decades ago in the heart of Mineola, and never dreamed the cameras they installed would reveal such brazen behavior.
“I hope anybody – anybody can find the bird to bring back,” Ida Ferreira said. “My heart’s waiting for him.”
Nassau County police and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals investigators are trying to determine the whereabouts of the baby cockatoo, and the pet store owners hope to work with them to establish a reward for whoever can find the stolen bird. Anyone with information is asked to call Nassau County police or the SPCA.