Prince George's County police, tracking down two exotic parrots, followed a trail of white sand and sunflower seeds from the Bladensburg pet shop where the birds were reported stolen yesterday morning to a door three blocks away.
The trail took them to an apartment at 3904 53rd St., where police say they found the birds and Robert F. Darby, 19, who lives at 5429 Taussig Rd in Hyattsville. Darby, a part-time carpenter, was charged with breaking and entering and is being held at the County Detention Center in lieu of $10,000 bond. He is scheduled for a bond hearing today at 2 p.m.
The parrots, a redhead named George and a blue-headed one named Larry, are about a foot from toe to crown, with a wingspan of 15 to 18 inches. Valued at about $800 each, the 5-year-old birds are from the Amazon, according to pet shop owner Larry Cauffman. Their vocabulary is limited to "hello," and an occasional shrill wolf whistle from George.
Police say the alarm sounded about 1 a.m. yesterday at George's Pet Shop, 5397 Annapolis Rd., in Bladensburg. The glass door had been shattered.
The birds are "okay but a little nervous because they were bounced around in their cages while the guy was running," said Cauffman, who said he has had the birds for about two years.
Cauffman also owns Larry's Fish Bowl, 4012 Minnesota Ave. NE, in the District. Last year vandals broke into his District shop, threw his parakeets into the piranha tank, broke the necks of his rabbits and stole a $3,000 cockatoo. No one has been arrested in that case.
Cauffman said this is the first theft since he has owned the Bladensburg shop, but he said two birds were stolen before he bought the place.