Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Clever thieves

As a bird-lover, I *had* to share this...

Bill owns a company that manufactures and installs car wash systems (Magic Wand Car Wash Systems, just in case you want to buy one). These are complete systems, including the money changer and money taking machines. Bill's company installed a car wash system in Frederick, Md.

The problem started when the new owner complained to Bill that he was losing significant amounts of money from his coin machines each week. He went as far as to accuse Bill's employees of having a key to the boxes and ripping him off. Bill just couldn't believe that his people would do that, so they set up a camera to catch the thief in action. Well, they did catch him on film!

Here's the bird sitting on the change slot of the machine:

The bird had to go down into the machine, and back up inside to get to the money:

Here's one with three quarters in his beak:

Also, they found that it wasn't just one bird - there were several working together. Once they identified and tracked the thieves, they found over $4000 in quarters on the roof of the car wash and more under a nearby tree.

In case any of you are interested, these birds are starlings. They're related to the Mynah bird (actually, Mynahs are members of the starling family), apparently make wonderful - though usually illegal - pets, and can learn to talk! Here's a great site about them, where you can get good info and also download clips of them talking:

Their voices are very airy/twittery, and (in my opinion) borderline creepy, but SO cute! And yes, I want one.


katiedid said...


That is hilarious!

And the pictures!! This needs to be submitted to Boing Boing. In fact, I am submitting it there - that is far too funny for words, T!

Sali said...


risa said...

those voices ARE creepy, but i adore starlings for their iridescence and for thomas harris' nod to them ;)

Rob Tornoe said...

You should send this to Kristen. She LOVES birds...

Kyahgirl said...

what a great story! I love that :-)


A friend sent Skeeter and me the link to your blog. I had seen the pictures before, and it is amazing what these little devils can figure out.

Skeeter, incidentally, is my pet starling (actually, I am her pet human). Starlings are kind of a pain to take care of (messy, require special diet, need lots of attention, etc.) but there is no doubt they make wonderful pets. Once you have had a starling, you will never want another type of bird as a pet.

Well, gotta cut this short, Skeeter wants to use the computer to answer some emails. --Truvey