Man returns stolen birds to NJ pet store after internet detectives track down thief


TOTOWA, NJ – Three exotic birds stolen in a cheeky theft from a New Jersey pet store have been returned, PIX11 has learned.

Theft watch footage went viral this week after it was revealed the suspects were a mother and father who enlisted their young son’s help. It happened at the Paterson Bird Store in Totowa just after 2 p.m. Saturday. Taking advantage of what was a busy time for the store, surveillance footage shows the father and son moving to the back of the store. Using a dog carrier, the man slipped three rare and very expensive birds from their cage while the young boy acts as a lookout.

“He was laughing, it was exciting for him,” store manager John Carpenter told PIX11 News. “That’s what they teach him as he grows up to be OK.”

As the Totowa Police Department opened an investigation into the theft, the store raised the bar by posting videos and screenshots of the suspects to all of their social media platforms. In what could be described as a sign of the times, a group of loyal customers did cyber sleuthing and were able to track down the suspects on social media.

“We even found out that the only lady had her name tattooed on her chest,” Carpenter said. “We have their license plate numbers.”

This growing pressure on the suspects was found to be enough for them to return the birds on Thursday afternoon.

(Paterson Bird Shop)

The store confirmed to PIX11 that the man seen in the surveillance footage entered the store just before 4:30 p.m. and returned the birds before piloting the chicken coop himself.

We are told the birds are noticeably skinny and are currently being treated at the store. Staff are now blaming social media for revealing the family and their crime.


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