Photo: Flickr / ABC
A Florida couple’s retirement has flown the coop now that 300 parrots worth an estimated $150,000 have been stolen from their Fort Meyers backyard, reports ABC’s Alexis Shaw. Sandra Kortz said she was asleep when the burglary happened. Now she fears for the exotic birds’ health and that of her and husband Richard’s golden years.
“The part that hurts is that I’m 69, my husband’s 72,” she told ABC. “The birds were going to be our retirement, but not anymore.”
As bizarre as it sounds, bird theft is fairly common in South Florida. According to Dr. Thomas Goldsmith, a Pinecrest, Fla. avian veterinarian, the tropical weather and proximity to the Port of Miami has turned the area into a breeding ground for crooks looking to cash in on exotic wildlife. And cash in they can—some birds are traded in the black market like illegal drugs and guns.
“Most thefts are planned and intentional, and you never know who might be behind them. (It could be) someone who did some landscaping or came to repair something and noticed you had birds.…There are people who make a living out of this,” he told ParrotChronicles.