By Luke Voogt
Kidnapped cockatoo Jacko has returned home safely to a Drysdale hardware store following a widespread public appeal for information on the beloved bird.
“He’s been found,” Drysdale Home Timber and Hardware manager Ben Garvey confirmed on Monday afternoon.
Store employee Brett Christie was on COVID marshal duty when a lone woman pulled up.
“I was on the gate checking people and a lady pulls up in a car and says she’s got Jacko in a box in the backseat,” Mr Christie said.
“She said she got him off the guy that [took] him. She said she [and the man were] very sorry.
“She didn’t want to name [the man]. A lot of people were very upset about it, so it was good of her to bring him back as soon as she could.”
Jacko seemed “a little quiet and scared” after the ordeal, according to Mr Christie.
“I was just happy to get him out of the container and make sure that he was OK.”
The store was “ecstatic” to have the beloved bird back, Mr Garvey said.
Jacko’s return comes after police released an image from CCTV footage of a man taking the cockatoo at 9.16pm on Saturday.
“We just want to thank everyone, all the news outlets and everyone on social media that shared it, and the Bellarine public,” Mr Garvey said.
“We just can’t thank people enough.”
While disappointed by the kidnapping, Mr Garvey was “grateful the man found it in his heart to return Jacko”.
“It looks like he hasn’t been harmed, which is wonderful and shows he at least has some dignity toward animals,” he said.
“Thank god that the person that took him didn’t harm him, it’s a great result.”
Jacko – a charmer, ladies’ man and part-time concierge according to Mr Garvey – enjoyed some well-deserved peanuts after his return to the store.
“Even more people know the bloody bird now – he’s already so well-known on the Bellarine – he’ll be famous.”
The store plans to upgrade security to make sure Jacko is never plucked from his home again.
“It’s been 13 years and nothing’s ever happened, but it only takes one time,” Mr Garvey said.
“Something will be happening to make sure he’s well looked after at night.”