In one of the more brazen combinations of retail theft and petnapping seen in Southern California, surveillance cameras captured a man stealing an incredibly valuable parrot from a Lake Forest pet store Sunday morning.  

The incident unfolded at around 10:30 a.m. at Omar’s Exotic Birds, located at 23507 El Toro Road, when a man is seen on video holding the store’s prized possession, a Congo African grey parrot, worth about $7,500, according to the store’s manager, Cinder Strahl.  

African grey parrot stolen
The 4-month-old African grey parrot stolen from Omar’s Exotic Birds on Nov. 5, 2023. (Omar’s Exotic Birds)

“The Congo African grey is one of the most popular species of parrot,” Strahl told KTLA’s Shelby Nelson, adding that the bird is prized for its intellect and its distinctiveness dialect.  

Surveillance footage shows several people in the store as the man, wearing a black jacket and red shirt, holds the parrot near his chest as he walks around, eventually walking out of the pet store when its four employees were distracted.  

African grey parrot stolen
A man seen holding a 4-month-old African grey parrot before allegedly walking out of the store with the valuable bird while employees were districted on Nov. 5, 2023. (Omar’s Exotic Birds)

To make the theft more worrisome is the stolen African grey parrot is only 4 months old and is still hand feeding three times a day.  

“It will not eat seed,” Stahl explained. “It’s not old enough to eat seed and it would be a dire situation if more than a day or two passes.”  

The manager also said that they had to inform the parrot’s owner, an elderly woman who often comes to the store to visit the bird, that it was stolen.  

Anyone with information about the stolen parrot is encouraged to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.