Maria Chavez is tiny, perhaps 100 pounds soaking wet. She's had Mickey, her blue macaw for so many years, it takes a while for her to count them. The bird is 28, and was given to her by an employee who realized it was more attached to Chavez, his cleaning woman, than to its original owner.
The bird follows her everywhere in her tiny Michigan avenue home, right along with her dogs. He rides on the large white and brown labrador mutt, and steals food from the chihuahua. When Chavez gardens in the front yard, Mickey hangs out next to her or on top of her outside enclosure. Never has there been an issue.
Thats why last Thursday, when a man jumped over her front yard fence at 8:30 in the morning, Chavez was more stunned than scared-until she saw the curly haired man in his 20's grab the bird. Mickey bit him, and the man, who was also trying to keep his sweatshirt's hood over his face, slammed the bird onto the wall. .....stunned angry, the woman started hitting him with a plastic broom handle, but "I wasn't strong enough" she cries while she explains.
The man knocked her down onto the front porch stairs, which prompted her usually friendly dogs to get in front of her to protect her. That's when the man grabbed the bird and jumped back out over her fence.
Neighbors running out of their homes after hearing her screams say they saw the man meet another, younger man on the street. They both ran to a waiting white vehicle, and older van or pick up, no one is sure, and sped off.
Chavez is inconsolable. Mickey is not a bird, it's her child. The simple woman with few means has managed to put together a thousand dollar reward for the return of the bird, no questions asked. She is afraid the animal will die without her. Her neighbors worry about her health, if the bird is not returned.
LA County Sheriff are investigating whether the incident may be related to recent exotic bird robberies in other areas, including Long Beach. Chavez says her suspect had a hooded sweatshirt, but she could see shoulder length curly hair. She describes him as a medium to thin built, average height Hispanic male. The other suspect waiting for him was younger, with dark, short hair.
"Please return him" cries the frail woman, "He will die without me of a broken heart.." It's hard not to have one's heart cracked, hearing her this way.
Copyright 2015 FOX 11 Los Angeles | Download our mobile app for breaking alerts or to watch FOX 11 News | Follow us on Facebook , Twitter and YouTube.