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Bird napper nabbed on MAX

by: Contributed photo, Allen Thomas

Gresham police caught a man they've dubbed the Bird Bandit red handed with bloodied arms and a bird in his jacket.

Allen Thomas, 26, a transient, allegedly stole two birds from a pet store in the 400 block of Northwest Eastman Parkway at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, said Officer Grant McCormick, a Gresham police spokesman.

Employees reported that a man stole a bird and ran out the back emergency door. Officers then spotted the suspect running north on Eastman and boarding an eastbound train at the City Hall station.

Meanwhile, witnesses who saw the man running from police told officers that he threw a backpack and other items into a Dumpster behind the Children, Adults and Families Division building at Eastman Parkway and Division Street.

Inside the Dumpster, officers found a jacket and a backpack containing a $1,300 African grey parrot. The man reportedly stole the backpack and jacket, plus pants and shirts from Ross Dress For Less before going into the pet store, McCormick said.

Back at the lightrail train, officers arrested the man at the next station, located at Northeast Eighth Street and Kelly Avenue. While checking the man for weapons, officers searched his jacket, 'and all of the sudden it starts to move,' McCormick said. Another bird - this one a green Fisher's lovebird worth $80 - poked its head out of Thomas' jacket pocket.

Both birds are in 'fairly good shape,' and have been returned to the pet store.

Thomas, however, sustained injuries to his hands and arms 'consistent with a beak bite,' McCormick said, adding that officers noticed blood on the pet store door where the suspect allegedly fled with the birds.

The man also found himself caged at the Multnomah County Detention Center, facing first- and third-degree theft charges. However, he was released to a pretrial supervision program on Monday, Oct. 16.