S African-Indian man fined for stealing parrot

Johannesburg: An Indian-origin man in South Africa has been fined over USD 270 for stealing an expensive African Grey parrot from a pet shop for his eight-year-old son who “insisted” on having the bird.

Prakash Debichand, who hails from Verulam near Durban, first pretended to be looking at the bird for a purchase, but was caught on closed circuit television steaing the coop and hiding it under the boy’s jacket.

The footage showed Debichand opening the boy’s blue jacket, hiding the parrot inside before zipping up the jacket.

“The shop assistant was on the floor behind the counter, busy on her cellphone. Besides us, there was nobody in the store. I was tempted and I stole the bird,” Debichand said in his guilty plea before the Verulam Magistrate’s Court last week.

Debichand said he stole the parrot as his son loved the bird and “insisted” on having it, but he could not afford to buy the expensive bird.

The father of two said he went to the pet shop with his sons, aged 8 and 14 years, as they were bird lovers.

“As a hobby, I normally raise birds and then release them,” he added.

Taking into account the mitigating factors, the magistrate slapped a Rands 4,000 (USD 274) fine or four months in jail, which was wholly suspended for five years on condition that he was not convicted of theft or attempted theft during this time.

The parrot worth Rands 2,000 (USD 137) has now been named “Evidence” by the owner and is back on his perch at the pet shop.