The owner of a New Jersey pet store said that three rare, expensive birds that were stolen from the shop over the weekend have been returned, along with an apology note.
On Saturday, a couple and a young boy entered the Paterson Bird Store in Totowa and had a cat with them in a carrier, the store owner's said. They were not allowed inside the bird room with the cat, so the woman held on to the feline outside as the man kept the carrier.
The man then used the carrier to swipe the three birds worth about $1,800 — two Rosy Bourke Parakeets and an American Dilute Conure, according to store owner Philip Jasper.
"They used the son, who's 7 or 8 years old — he used him as a lookout while he's grabbing the birds. It's really very sad," Jasper said.
A surveillance video at the store captured the whole incident, an employee said, adding that it appeared the man was looking at the prices of the birds to see which ones are the most expensive.
Five days later, on Thursday, Jasper said that the birds were returned to the store. Surveillance footage shows a man carrying a covered cage to the store, opening the shop's front door and setting the cage down inside. The man then jogged off.
There was a note along with the birds, Jasper said, that asked for forgiveness and to not "include his wife or his child in this." Jasper is crediting social media for outing the thieves.
While the owner is appreciative that the birds were returned, he said they were not in good health, saying they were thin and starving. Store employees are helping the birds recover, Jasper said.