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Orlando Police arrest a man accused of taking baby swans from Lake Eola


Police: Video shows a man taking baby swans from Lake Eola, arrest warrant issued

Orlando Police provided video of a man who reportedly took two cygnets (baby swans) from Lake Eola and placed them in a refrigerator. An arrest warrant has now been issued.

A man accused of taking two cygnets from a nest on Lake Eola and then placing them in a refrigerator while fending off two adult swans in need has been arrested.

The 71-year-old Richard Harger is charged with theft and entered from all city parks.

The Orlando Police Department said they were told on Sunday that a man later identified as Harger was approaching a nest of young swans and two adult swans with a food cooler on Lake Eola.

He reportedly used the cooler as a shield to ward off the adult swans and took the two cubs out of their nest. He put them in the radiator and, according to police, left the scene in his vehicle.

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In a video made available by the police to FOX 35 News, people can be heard “Stop!” and “Put them back!”

The man replies: “You will be dead tomorrow, I know that. I work for Lake Eola.”

Then someone asks, “So are you going to take them and bring them back?”

To which he replies, “Oh yes” before telling the crowd that the baby swans will be fine and “Trust me, I did this”.

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The Orlando Police Department responded, stating that the man claimed he was part of the Swan Rescue and raised them until they were old enough to defend themselves in the world.

The Orlando Police Department says two cygnets stolen from a nest on Lake Eola on Sunday were recovered.

Fortunately, police said detectives were able to identify and locate Harger in less than 24 hours. The swans are said to have been safely recovered.

When the officers went to see Harger, they saw a “4 Da Birds” sign on the front gate of his home. Police said he admitted to them he took the baby swans because he thought they would be injured and apologized for it. The swans were then handed over to the police.

A park ranger at Lake Eola informed police that the two baby swans cost $ 5,000, police added.


Find the latest news from Central Florida at FOX 35 Orlando.


Janet Smith