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28 birds stolen from Florida parrot rescue

A $20,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the return of the birds.

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Police are asking for help finding 28 birds that were stolen from a parrot rescue organization in Punta Gorda.

The birds were taken in the early morning hours of Sept. 13 from the Parrot Outreach Society in Charlotte County, according to the Punta Gorda Police Department.

A $20,000 reward — an increase of $10,000 since Tuesday — is being offered for information that leads to the return of the animals. Anyone with information is asked to contact Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-780-8477 or submitting a tip online.

Police are also asking bird dealers to be on the lookout for anyone who may be selling the stolen birds.

A criminal investigation is ongoing.

The Parrot Outreach Society shared a video posted by Zeb Ernest, who runs the TikTok account blueplanetpets. In the video, which has more than 20,000 views, Ernest says he believes the birds may end up being sold in other states.

"They're going to be used as breeders. They're gonna wind up in a flea market. They're gonna wind up in some low-quality pet store," he explained. "Please be on the lookout."

The Parrot Outreach Society is a non-profit organization that runs an outreach and placement program for parrots that are "abandoned, abused, or in need of a home for any reason," the organization's website reads.

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