|Deputies recovered this Jenday Conure parrot at a residence in Golden Gate Estates on Monday. The parrot had been stolen from Pet Supermarket, 2416 U.S. 41 E. in East Naples on Sept. 22. Photo by Sgt. Brian Sawyer/CCSO
Sgt. Mark Williamson said he was driving his agency vehicle on Shadowlawn Drive near Davis Boulevard around 1:30 p.m. when he spotted Thompson walking on Davis toward Airport-Pulling Road.
Sgt. Williamson said Thompson resembled the man captured on store surveillance video taking the bird. Images of the suspect were released to CCSO members, the media and the public.
Thompson was carrying a white shopping bag when Sgt. Williamson stopped to talk to him at a gas station at the intersection of Davis and Airport-Pulling. Thompson told the detective that there were four puffer fish inside the bag and that he had just come from an aquarium store, Sgt. Williamson said.
“He said, ‘We have over 500 animals where I live,’” Sgt. Williamson recalled. “Then I knew it was him.”
This isn’t the first time Sgt. Williamson has helped track down a stolen exotic animal. He helped recover a gila monster that had been stolen from a Golden Gate pet store in 2006 and an African gray parrot that had been stolen from a residence in Golden Gate Estates in 2007.
Sgt. Williamson contacted the investigator assigned to the stolen parrot case, Detective Tonya Davis, who interviewed Thompson. Thompson told her that all his animals were at his estranged wife’s residence in Golden Gate Estates. He said he had many birds there, but no Conures.
Jane Thompson told Detective Davis that Thompson moved out of their residence at 190 14th St. S.E. about four months ago, but would still come by to care for some of the animals. He brought a Jenday Conure to the house, she said, and left it approximately two or three weeks ago. She said she saw the bulletin about the parrot theft on television and thought the images resembled her husband, but didn’t report it to authorities.
Jane Thompson invited Detective Davis into her residence and showed her the Jenday Conure that Thompson had left there. Further investigation revealed it was the bird that had been stolen from Pet Supermarket.
The bird was recovered by detectives and later returned to the store.
Thompson was placed under arrest and charged with grand theft. He was booked into the Collier County jail.
He was additionally charged with violation of state probation. A records search revealed Thompson is currently on state probation stemming from his 2010 conviction on a third DUI violation in 10 years.