Accused cockatoo caper blames it on the bird

LARGO, FL (WFLA) — He’s blaming it all on the bird.

“I just had to laugh because that’s just about the best I have ever heard,” said Bridget Melusaym, an employee of Petland for 17 years.

Christopher Whipple, 20, certainly had a clever excuse when Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputies interviewed him Monday night, asking him about a stolen cockatoo and evidence they say incriminates him, including surveillance video.

Whipple was detained by Pinellas Park police on Mondayat the intersection of 77th Terrace N and 68th Street for an unrelated trespassing incident.

Christopher Whipple. Photo courtesy Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
Christopher Whipple. Photo courtesy Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

Related: 8 On Your Side story leads to recovery of stolen Cockatoo

Whipple admitted to police officers that he was man accused in the case of the stolen cockatoo, Corporal Spencer Gross of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said. The suspect was then transferred into the custody of the sheriff’s office and was arrested.

According to Whipple’s arrest affidavit, he told deputies he didn’t steal the bird. Rather, he said, the bird got in his backpack on its own accord, even zipping it back up with his beak.

“Is that possible? No, no. I’m sure Hector did not enjoy being put into a backpack,” Melusaym said. “By no means would the bird go into the backpack, never mind zipping it up on his own. I do believe he knew exactly what he was doing.”

Judge William H. Burgess didn’t buy that story either. On Tuesday afternoon Judge Burgess denied Whipple’s request to be released on his own recognizance, setting his bail at $2,000 for retail theft charges.

Hector is now resting comfortably back at Petland with a new decoration on his cage, a sign that reads, “Please let me rest! I was kidnapped on Friday and am recovering from my harrowing ordeal.”

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