Davie, Florida (WFOR) -- A Florida bird store owner is devastated after a thief stole 150 birds from his business.
“It’s like someone ripped the heart out of my chest,” said Charlie Hong, who owns the Birdhouse in Davie, just west of Fort Lauderdale.
The thief stole the birds after cutting through the roof and slid through the ceiling into the store sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Hong believes the burglar will sell them on the black market.
Some are rare birds that can fetch up to $3,000. Hong estimates he is out between $75,000 and $100,000.
“I love them. They are like my kids,” Hong said choking back tears.
Surveillance from the restaurant next door shows a pair of feet leaving through the back of the store with a cage.
You can’t see a face, but you see the bird napper staying in the shadows along a fence and carrying cages to a car.
Besides selling birds, Hong does bird sitting and cares for them.
Shira Sipper said Hong was nursing her parrot Cash back to health. Miraculously, her bird was not stolen. Hong said Cash hid from the thief.
On Thursday, Sipper came by the store to see her beloved parrot.
“People don’t realize how smart birds are and what happened to them is awful,” she said.
At his store Thursday, Hong’s phone was ringing nonstop.
Hong said he’s been overwhelmed with support from the community, including the Facebook group Bird Nerds of South Florida.
Bird lovers are watching flea markets and scouring the internet looking for the stolen birds.
Hong hopes the thief knows how to care for the birds so they don’t die.
“Even if they don’t come back hopefully they will feed them,” he said.
Anyone with information on the birds is urged to call the Davie Police Department or Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.