Will they stop at nothing? This time, the kidnaping victim is Paisan, a 29-year-old parrot who was snatched from his nest this week--the seventh Los Angeles-area exotic bird to be stolen in the last few months.
It's turning into a regular avian crime wave out there.
Isabelle Henry and her husband were out of town when their son on Thursday found that their Hollywood-area home had been ransacked. The usual items--a VCR and jewelry--had vanished. But so had Paisan, the yellow-headed Amazon parrot they bought 29 years ago in Virginia.
"The thing of most value to us is our 29-year-old-parrot," she said. "As my husband pointed out, the rest of the stuff is only material. . . . This (bird) is something that really belongs to us. He's an institution."
Late last year, six exotic birds, including a cranky, potty-mouthed, $1,500 yellow-naped Amazon, were stolen from porches in southeast Los Angeles County; to date, only the Amazon has been recovered.
But Paisan's disappearance, which is being investigated by Los Angeles police, is different.
Someone broke into the Henrys' house and onto an enclosed patio, where they took Paisan from his wrought-iron cage and stuffed him into a nearby dog-carrier the Henrys use for their two bichon frise dogs, which they had taken with them out of town.
The whole thing puzzles Isabelle Henry.
"He's vicious. He hates strangers," she said. No one can handle him except the Henrys and their sons, including Mark, who "grew up with him," and whose name Paisan begins squawking unflaggingly around six every morning.
"He learned it early on and he's never gotten over it. We coaxed and coaxed, and never got him to say more than that."
Actually, the green bird, with a yellow head and swatches of rose on the wings, says a few other things, including his name and "bye-bye."
"When he's depressed he always says 'Bye-bye, Paisan,' (and) he may very well be at this stage," Mrs. Henry said.