The Pet Village of Duncanville, Texas, where the blue-and-gold macaw Max was stolen on August 26, 2008, raised its reward for the safe return of the bird from $1,000 to $2,000. Co-owner Stephanie Roberts said that everyone from customers to strangers across the nation have reached out to help chip in money for the reward. Within two weeks, Roberts said, another thousand dollars was raised.
“A lot of it was just customers saying, ‘We’ll chip in $100 here, $50 here.’ They just kept pitching in money,” Roberts said. “They’re offering to do anything and everything they can.”
Max the parrot had known no other home. The 28-year-old blue-and-gold macaw grew up in The Pet Village. Here he was hand-raised by Roberts, and even the veterinarian came to the store to do Max’s regular check-ups and nail trimmings.
But while the parrot’s bird cage remains in the store, Max the blue-and-gold macaw is gone.
At about 4 a.m. on the morning on Tuesday, August 26, 2008, security cameras show two men with their faces covered breaking into the back door of the store with a hatchet. They used the hatch to pry open the bars of Max’s cage and took Max outside to their van. The parrot kidnapping took less than two minutes.
“It’s very unusual for them to do this and just take the bird,” Roberts said. “They didn’t even go to the front side of the store where the cash register is.”
Roberts said that every day, she hopes she will wake up and Max will be back. And with the community and its police force on alert for any leads that would lead to Max’s return and his kidnappers’ arrest, Roberts is optimistic. Fliers are posted throughout the neighborhood, and community members keep their eyes peeled to websites like craigslist and local flea markets where birds like Max might be sold.
Roberts is taking all tips that could help lead to Max’s return seriously, and she reports suspicious activity to the Duncanville Police Department. Roberts said the police welcome tips and have been excellent about following up on leads.
It’s no wonder that Duncanville dwellers are passionate about returning Max to his home. The beloved parrot is a local celebrity.
Max would walk around like a person in the store, boldly approaching groups of people, sometimes trailed by the store’s cat. He loved to sit inside Roberts’ office while she worked and contentedly shredded paper underneath her desk. If the parrot spied food he wanted to eat in anyone’s hands, he’d say “cracker.” He would cheerfully tell the pet store’s employees “Work, work, work, work, work.” Roberts said Max always said what was appropriate for a given situation and likens him to a child.
“Everytime I’d go to his cage, he’d reach his little hand through to grab my fingers,” Roberts said. “You couldn’t help but bond with him.”
Roberts has set up an e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, for those with any leads. Tips can also be reported to The Pet Village at 972-709-7387, or the Duncanville Police Department’s detective David Moon at 972-780-5037.
“I check it first thing in the morning when I wake up, then throughout the day, right until I go to bed,” Roberts said. “We are waiting for Max to come home.”