The abduction of an elderly one-winged bald eagle from a Long Island wildlife refuge last week has sparked a desperate search and prompted a $12,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the bird's captor.
The theft of the eagle, named Sam, from the Quogue Wildlife Refuge in the Hamptons, was reported six days ago. A gunshot wound 31 years ago resulted in the amputation of the bird's right wing, leaving him unable to fly.
“OUR BALD EAGLE WAS TAKEN AND IS MISSING!” the refuge said in a Facebook post. “He will be stressed and cannot survive without our care. We want him back unharmed. It is a federally protected bird and cannot survive in the wild as he has an amputated wing.”
Long Island police aren't content to rely on a wing and a prayer to get Sam back, and are hoping the reward money prompts some eagle-eyed observer to help root out the thief.
"That eagle is a longtime resident of Quogue Village, and we really want to get it back," Suffolk Police Chief Stuart Cameron said during a news conference Saturday, according to Newsday. Sam, who is 35, arrived on Long Island in 1988.
The bald eagle was snatched from his outdoor cage in the middle of the night after a male thief cut holes through two layers of fencing, The Washington Post reported Monday.
Surveillance video captured the man walking away, carrying Sam in a bag or blanket, according to the paper.
Police said the thief is wanted for grand larceny.
Messages of support from children have been tied to the fence of the bald eagle’s empty cage.