Florida man accused of taking baby swans from nest on Lake Orlando – KIRO 7 News Seattle
ORLANDO, Florida – A Florida man is accused of stealing two baby swans from an Orlando lake on Sunday.
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Richard Newell Harger Sr., 71, of Orlando, was arrested Monday and charged with third degree theft, according to Orange County court records.
Police were called to the Lake Eola area of Orlando by bystanders on Sunday evening who, according to an affidavit, found that Harger had taken the baby swans or cygnets.
ESRESCUED: You may have heard of the 2 cygnets that were stolen from a nest on Lake Eola on Sunday. A group of our Detectives & Officers, including Officer Sierra, worked quickly to track down the babies. They were rescued yesterday and the man who took them is charged with major theft. pic.twitter.com/ifRzvNcc0K
– Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) May 11, 2021
According to one video, a man later identified as Harger approached the swan’s nest wearing a red shirt that resembled volunteers in the park in downtown Orlando. Police said Harger took the cygnets and put them in a red cooler.
In a video posted on Instagram, Harger is shown blocking the adult swans while placing the cygnets in the cooler.
When bystanders protested, Harger told them that he was on a Lake Eola Park rescue team and that the cygnets would be “dead tomorrow” if he didn’t remove them from the area. This is evident from a video that was recorded on site.
Orlando police said they recovered the cygnets Monday night.
According to an arrest warrant, Harger said he took the birds “because he thought they would be injured”. He then apologized, detectives said.
“We thank the Orlando Police Department and the public for their efforts to identify the person who took the cygnets,” the Orlando Police Department said in a statement. “We are pleased that the cygnets are safely returned as they are an icon and an important part of Lake Eola Park. The city officials will have her in a safe place and will monitor her condition as she receives a wellness check-up. “