SUMMERLAND KEY, Fla. – Deputies arrested a Florida Keys man Tuesday after they accused him of stealing his roommate’s eclectus parrot and leaving the badly injured bird on a bus stop bench.
Forty-year-old Justin David Peters, of Summerland Key, faces a felony grand theft charge and a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Adam Linhardt said.
Peters, who said Linhardt is also known as “Redbeard” on Summerland Key, showed up on deputies’ radar on June 14, when his roommate, a 37-year-old woman, reported that her parrot, named “Piper”, had been stole.
Linhardt said the victim had repeatedly told Peters to leave Piper, valued at $1,800, alone and said Peters “did not have permission to take the bird out of its cage and leave the residence.”
The day before, a business owner reported seeing a man later identified as Peters at a nearby bus stop, Linhardt said.
“(He) went about his business and looked at the bus station again sometime later and Peters was no longer there, but there was a red parrot on the bench,” Linhardt said. “He took possession of the parrot, called the Sheriff’s Office and made other attempts to locate the owner.”
Witnesses at other nearby businesses reported seeing a man, later identified as Peters, with the same red parrot, according to the sheriff’s office. They said the bird looked “stressed and agitated.”
Deputies said they later confirmed that Peters was at those locations through surveillance footage.
After being returned to its owner, a veterinarian found that Piper “suffered multiple broken bones, a dislocated hip, blunt force trauma to one side of his body and other injuries,” Linhardt said.
Deputies took Peters to the Monroe County Jail.
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