A heartbroken East Los Angeles woman is offering a $1,000 reward for the safe return of her beloved bird that was stolen by a thief last week.
Mickey, a green, blue and yellow miligold macaw, was in a bird cage outside its owner's home May 14 when a man in a hooded sweatshirt jumped over a fence and stole the bird. Mickey's owner, Maria Chavez, saw the intruder from inside her home on Michigan Street and grabbed a plastic broom to fend him off.
"She began hitting the man from behind as he tried to grab the bird," her niece said. The thief threw Mickey against the wall after the bird bit him, she added.
Chavez, who stands 4-feet-11-inches, was allegedly pushed away by the thief and down steps. Her pit bull Leah came to her defense and prevented the man from allegedly attacking her any further, her niece said.
Chavez was left with a bruise on her back and no Mickey. The thief jumped over the fence to another man waiting for him and they both ran down the street. One of the men jumped into a waiting vehicle and another continued to run on foot, and out of sight, down the street.
Mickey was a gift from an employer who realized the macaw was attached to Chavez. She had worked as their housekeeper and raised the bird from the time he was a baby 28 years ago.
Chavez worries about what could happen to Mickey. She has no children and depends on the company of her pets.
"The bird is going to die because you don't know how to take care of him. They only way to make money is to bring my bird back," she said.
Chavez's family noticed the theft is similar to an investigation going on in Long Beach, where three men stole five exotic birds.
An exotic bird expert who says older hybrid macaws are usually not sold in reputable pet stores and won't get much money, about $200, on the open market
The family has contacted police, but in the meantime they're offering a reward, no questions asked.
"People think it's a bird. It's not a bird, he is my baby," Chavez said.