A Florida man known locally as “Redbeard” is facing charges after he kidnapped his roommate’s parrot and left it injured and alone at a bus stop, authorities said.
Justin Peters, 40, of Summerland Key, was arrested Tuesday after pilfering the eclectus parrot — named Piper — from a 37-year-old woman in June and has been charged with grand theft and animal cruelty, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
The $1,800 bird’s owner told police that she instructed Peters to never let it out of her cage or remove it from their residence. On June 14, she called police to say Piper had been stolen.
The day before that, a witness told deputies that he spotted a man, later identified as Peters, at a bus stop and later noted that he was gone — but left the bird behind on a bench.
The man scooped up the parrot and called authorities and attempted to locate the bird’s owner, police said.
Piper was returned to her owner and a veterinarian later found that it had suffered broken bones, a dislocated hip and blunt force trauma to one side of her body. A GoFundMe has since raised over $500 to help pay the bird’s medical bills.
Surveillance video later tied Peters to the area of the bus stop and he was taken into custody Tuesday.