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Monday, January 16, 2006

Pet parrot bites, helps ID suspect in burglary

For The Patriot-News

WILLIAMSPORT - A parrot literally took a bite out of crime and helped identify a burglary suspect, police say.

The blue and gold macaw hybrid called Sunshine attacked Michael L. Deeter, 44, as Deeter broke into the apartment of Sunshine's owner, James Erb, police said.

Deeter, of Williamsport, told police the parrot bit him "very hard" after he entered Erb's apartment in the 600 block of Pine Street, and he still had the marks to prove it when he was arrested, according to the arrest affidavit.

Sunshine had blood on its beak, blood droplets were found throughout the apartment, and Deeter had marks on his left hand consistent with those made by a parrot, the affidavit stated.

All for about $100 in change and a camcorder, police said.

The parrot also helped pinpoint the time of the break-in at 3 p.m. Saturday, when a neighbor heard Sunshine screaming and making a commotion, police said.

Sunshine didn't come away unscathed; all but one of its large tail feathers had been pulled out, police said. A trail of feathers led from the room where Erb kept the parrot to the kitchen, where police said forced entry was made from an enclosed porch.

A neighbor discovered broken glass on the porch about 6:30 p.m. Saturday and called police, but they said they were unable to confirm what had happened until Erb returned home about 12:25 a.m. yesterday and reported the burglary.

Police said Deeter became a suspect when they learned he had called Erb about 1 p.m. Saturday and learned Erb would be leaving for work.

The arrest affidavit states Deeter confessed to breaking the glass in the door to get into the apartment but claimed he was too drunk to remember anything else except his encounter with Sunshine.

Deeter was arraigned on charges of burglary, criminal trespass, theft and criminal mischief and taken to the county jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.


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