Two birds stolen from Lake County pet stores

MENTOR, Ohio--  Authorities in Lake County are investigating a recent trend: People stealing birds from area pet stores.

A group of men posing as customers walked into the Pet Supplies Plus on Mentor Avenue on Jan. 2. While some of the suspects distracted employees, another grabbed the bird, a fancy green cheek conure, and walked out of the store. It's valued at $400.

Investigators said it appears that four days later, the same group hit Pet Paradise on Euclid Avenue in Willoughby. They used the same distraction technique and took a pineapple cheek conure, worth $330.

The owner is concerned because the bird is only eight weeks old and has to be fed with a syringe.

"I'm not necessarily sure that these guys know much about these birds, but they're probably getting them at the request of somebody, is my guess or they're valuable. So it's unusual," Lt. Tim Allen said.

Police in Willoughby and Mentor are checking "buy and sell" websites to see if the thieves are trying to peddle the stolen birds.