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Local News in Brief : Van Nuys Suspect Held in Theft of 3 Exotic Birds From Home

July 16, 1986

A 21-year-old Van Nuys man has been arrested on suspicion of stealing two Latin American parrots and an Indonesian bird, which were later sold to a pet dealer, police said.

Detective Pat Lealos of the San Fernando police said two of the birds--including Junior, a Mexican yellow-headed parrot who "talks, laughs and does tricks"--were resold by the dealer for $700 and have not been recovered.

John J. Burig was arrested Monday on suspicion of stealing the birds from the Rev. James Mitchell's home in San Fernando on June 19 and 21 while the minister was watching them for a friend, Lealos said. Burig was staying with Mitchell, who regularly provides temporary housing for people who have no place to stay, the detective said.

Burig later sold the three birds for a total of $200 to Deb's Pet Shop in the 18300 block of Ventura Boulevard in Van Nuys, Lealos said.

The shop's owners resold Junior and a Central American blue-headed parrot before investigators told them that the birds were stolen, Lealos said.

Junior was sold for $500, Lealos said, and the blue-headed parrot was purchased for $200.

Lealos said investigators recovered the third bird--a type of parrot known as an Indonesian red lory--from the pet shop.

Investigators, acting on a tip from the shop owner, arrested Burig on suspicion of burglary about 3:30 p.m. Monday while he was making a call from a Van Nuys telephone booth.

Burig is being held in San Fernando Jail in lieu of $7,500 bail, Lealos said.

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