A Vermont homeowner found a live rooster stuffed in her mailbox, in what may be a bizarre clue that could help solve a pair of poultry thefts in Addison County.
"I just don't understand why anybody would do that," said Armond Brisson, who had two roosters and a female peacock stolen from his barn in Weybridge sometime during Labor Day weekend. "This was done deliberately by someone."
Brisson and Vermont State Police out of the New Haven barracks know a person did it, not a fox or some other predator, because there was a mystery tire track behind Brisson's barn and a thirty-gallon can of feed also missing.
Then, Corporal Justin Busby of the Vermont State Police said a nearby homeowner came forward with a surprising clue.
A woman who lives near Brisson reported midday Wednesday that a rooster, believed to be one of the stolen birds, was found stuffed in her mailbox a few days ago.
The resident said her daughter was scared to discover what she at first thought was a dead bird in the mailbox. The bird ended up surviving the ordeal and remained on the residents' property, according to the family's report to police.
Up Route 7 in Ferrisburgh, another bird owner, Jessy Amblo, lost five chickens following a different theft over the holiday weekend.
"It's really strange," Amblo told necn. "You should be able to have chickens on your homestead."
Amblo said he is sure someone broke into the coop when the hens were sleeping and docile.
State Police and Amblo said no wild animal is suspected in the Ferrisburgh case either, because one couldn't have gotten through thick wire on Amblo's raised coop, or worked the door to get inside. Furthermore, there were no signs of blood or a struggle with a predator.
"From now on at night, we'll lock the chickens," Amblo said.
Busby asked anyone with information on the incidents to contact the New Haven barracks of the Vermont State Police at 802-388-4919. Information can also be submitted online.
The homeowner who found the rooster in her mailbox reported hearing laughing and scurrying sounds from the end of her driveway before her family made the unusual discovery.
That led Busby to suspect the theft could be the work of pranksters, he told necn Wednesday.
However, with animal welfare at stake, the victims said the crime is no laughing matter.
"It just has to stop," Amblo said.
Amblo said the cash value of the five chickens is about $70, but added it is very difficult to find chickens this time of year that can lay eggs and integrate with his remaining birds.
Brisson valued his two roosters at $5 apiece, the pea hen at $100, the feed at $20-30, and two stolen galvanized cans at $20 apiece.
But more than the cash value, Brisson said the feeling of violation from knowing his property was broken into has been frustrating. He's asking Vermonters to keep their eyes and ears open for the missing pea hen.
"Some neighbor somewhere is hearing this peacock, I'm damn sure," Brisson said. "She's loud!"