Woman who hides bird in bra is busted and caged

3:25 PM, Nov 8, 2005   |    comments
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By:Dave Balut
Englewood, Florida - Hobbs Guenther breeds exotic birds at his home in Englewood. He has about a thousand parrots and other birds. One of the babies from two rare green wing Macaws was stolen in August 2004. Guenther suspected a former employee, and Monday state fish and wildlife investigators arrested 35-year-old Jill Knispel of Englewood on a charge of third degree felony larceny. FWC Investigator Lenny Barshinger says Knispel bragged about stealing the baby parrot. Lenny Barshinger, FWC Investigator: "She told them that she had actually taken the bird from the facility in her bra." Hobbs Guenther, Breeds Exotic Birds: "Well, good way to hide it I guess, Certainly not going to search her as she leaves.” 14-months later, Guenther has his stolen Macaw back. He says Knispel traded the parrot for a vintage car, a 1964 Karmann Ghia, and bragged to the buyer about stealing it. The buyer who has since passed away, told the breeder about the theft. Hobbs Guenther: "She knew that I knew Damoto very well so I'm surprised that she would brag about it." Once investigators found out about the stolen macaw they had another problem. Proving it was the parrot that was taken. Lenny Barshinger: "We did some DNA testing on the parents of the bird that were here at the facility." And DNA from the parrot parents, matched DNA from the stolen Macaw. Lenny Barshinger: "I think that's a great use of modern technology." The case of the missing Macaw solved by DNA, and a former employee who squawked about it. Authorities booked the former employee, Jill Knispel into the Sarasota County jail on $1,000 bond. Third degree larceny is a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a $5,000 dollar fine.

Dave Balut, Tampa Bay's 10 News

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