Crime

Tiki the parrot didn’t fly the coop. The man police say took her is behind bars.

This is a red sun conure, such as the one stolen from the front the porch of a home in Kiln.
This is a red sun conure, such as the one stolen from the front the porch of a home in Kiln. Charlotte Observer File

A Bay woman thought her parrot, Tiki, had flown away from her front porch.

She put out flyers about her adult female bird, a red sun conure, the week of July 24 and later received calls saying someone had stolen the bird, Police Chief Daren Freeman said. Conure is pronounced con-your.

The chief said he’s never heard of the colorful bird and had never heard of one being stolen. Especially off a front porch.

“You can’t have a $1,500 parrot these days without someone stealing it,” Freeman said.

Tiki had been in her cage on the front porch of her home while enjoying some fresh air.

The owner contacted police Aug. 10. With the help of people sharing information, investigators determined 24-year-old Michael Timothy Keltner of Waveland had stolen Tiki, he said.

Police obtained an arrest warrant and took Keltner into custody Monday on a charge of grand larceny. He was being held at the Hancock County jail. His bond was set at $5,000.

The parrot was taken from a home in the Spanish Acres subdivision off Old Spanish Trail.

Lead Detective Caleb McQueen said he was surprised when the theft report was put on his desk — mostly because of the bird’s value.

One of the tips that led to the bird’s recovery came from someone who saw the woman’s flyer and recognized the bird, McQueen said.

Keltner stole the bird and planned to sell it, he said. The bird was at the home of the person who planned to buy it, but the homeowner didn’t know the bird was stolen.

McQueen said the woman met investigators at a home in Bayside Park to identify and recover the bird.

“She was excited because she assumed the bird was gone and she’d never see her again,” McQueen said.

Police found Keltner at a friend’s home in Waveland.

McQueen said he learned a lot about the red sun conure during the investigation.

“They all are pretty much similar in the way they look, but there are very small details that differentiate them,” he said.

A red sun conure is a brightly colored, medium-sized parrot that’s native to northeastern South America, according to thespruce.com. The sun conure has a life span of 30 years and can grow to up to 12 inches from its beak to the end of its tail feathers.

The parrot has brilliant colors of red, yellow, orange, green and blue. The bird is known to have a shrill call which it uses to draw attention to important situations. Some are considered feathered watch dogs, as well as loving companions who thrive on attention from their owner.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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