Stolen parrot home; suspect in jail
This story was updated at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
PITTSFIELD -- An exotic bird that was stolen from a pet store on Friday was returned on Monday, and the man who allegedly swiped Clementine will probably be sitting in jail on bail for some time.
Arrested on Sunday, Charles Williamson, of Perrine Avenue, pleaded not guilty Monday to larceny over $250 and animal cruelty when he was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court. Williamson allegedly took the bird Friday. It was recovered Sunday night at a Pittsfield apartment.
District Court Judge Fredric D. Rutberg set bail for Williamson, who has a criminal record in three states, at $1,000 cash, $10,000 surety bond. That sum was considerably less than the $5,000 cash/$50,000 surety bond that prosecutors had requested.
Williamson's attorney, Isabel Colonna, said even $1,000 cash would be too expensive for her 52-year-old client to raise.
"He is not a man of any resources," Colonna said. "His only income is food stamps."
Williamson is accused of taking a female sun conure named Clementine from the Petco on Merrill Road Friday afternoon, said Assistant District Attorney Kelly Mulcahy Kemp.
The bird is worth $600, according to Mulcahy Kemp.
Sun conures are medium-sized, brightly colored parrots indigenous to South America.
Petco General Manager Amy Cavanaugh issued a statement Monday night in which she stated the No. 1 concern was for Clementine's safety and well-being. After Clementine was taken Friday, Cavanaugh set up a Facebook group page seeking leads and information.
"A big thank you to the Pittsfield Police Department and to the entire community for the outpouring of support and help to find Clementine," Cavanaugh said. "She's now waiting safely and patiently at Petco for a loving forever home."
According to Mulcahy Kemp, there are "indications" that Clementine had been hurt while in Williamson's care.
Clementine did go through quite an ordeal. According to Mulcahy Kemp, Williamson had the bird for about 24 hours and had been seen with it while he was out asking for rides. Williamson had also told people that the bird had been given to him as a gift. Police scanner reports also indicated that Williamson had visited bars on Friday with the bird and tried to sell it.
Sun conures are not used to the cold and are required to be maintained in temperatures higher than 70 degrees, Mulcahy Kemp said.
Williamson eventually gave the bird to a woman who didn't know it had been stolen. She put it in a cage and cared for it.
Williamson was arrested on Saturday following a police investigation.
According to Mulcahy Kemp, Williamson has an open trespassing case, has failed to register as a sex offender, and has been the subject of 17 previous restraining orders.
"He's well-known to the court," she said.
Colonna said Williamson suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and had gone off his medications when the incident took place. She said that is when matters "got out of hand."
Colonna said Williamson worked with police to find Clementine and realizes the "seriousness" of the charges against him.
A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Feb. 4.
Clementine was said to be resting in a huge cage "with lots of toys and plenty of food," according to Cavanaugh's Facebook post. She described her pet's condition as "fair" because the bird had lost most of her tail feathers and had some "rough-looking spots" on her wings. Cavanaugh said she had planned to take Clementine to a veterinarian on Monday.
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