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Cockatoo That Starred in 'Baretta' TV Show Is Stolen in San Diego

November 15, 1990|CAROLINE LEMKE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN DIEGO — Fred, the comedic cockatoo made famous in the 1970s television series "Baretta," was stolen from his cage at San Diego Wild Animal Park, police said Wednesday.

The missing cockatoo was one of three that portrayed Robert Blake's pet in the ABC series about an unconventional cop. The winner of a Patsy--the animal equivalent of an Academy Award--Fred had been performing in shows at the Wild Animal Park for the last six years.

The theft of the 30-year-old cockatoo occurred between 4:15 p.m. Tuesday and 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, said police spokesman Bill Robinson. A trainer discovered that Fred was missing when he went to give him his breakfast, he said.

The thief forced his way through three locked gates to get to the cockatoo, housed in a cage in the rear of the park's bird theater, Robinson said. Because there was no sign of struggle, police are looking at the possibility that the abductor knew his way around the park and knows how to handle birds, he said.

None of the 40 other birds housed in the same area were missing, Robinson said.

Fred, who can talk, laugh and cough, is valued at more than $15,000 because of his training and celebrity status, Robinson said. He is owned by Ray Berwick Inc., a Hollywood company that trains birds for use in entertainment.

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