Seminole County

‘Thought I’m never going to see him again’: Stolen Oviedo rooster, Fred, returned to rightful owner

OVIEDO, Fla. — A popular rooster named Fred who vanished from an Oviedo store Tuesday evening has been returned to his owner.

The Oviedo Police Department said Emma Reichert reported shortly before 6:30 p.m. that her pet rooster, worth $2,000, was missing from her store near North Central and East Broadway streets.

Reichert said someone abandoned the bird several years ago outside My Oviedo Store and that he usually roams the parking lot, but he was nowhere to be seen Tuesday.

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“He hadn’t slept in his cage,” she said. “His cage was completely clean.”

Reichert said she turned to Facebook for help, and it wasn’t long before members of the community responded to her post.

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“Somebody reported that they had seen someone late afternoon on Monday, chasing roosters in my parking lot after everybody had left,” she said.

Police said Reichert provided them surveillance footage showing a man chasing the chicken and capturing it before driving away -- but not without the camera capturing the vehicle’s license plate.

“My heart sank when they said we have video of a black SUV chasing the roosters,” she said. “I thought, ‘I’m never going to see him again.’”

Investigators said they traced the license plate back to Adrian Cruz and traveled to his Casselberry home to notify him of the video and that Reichert was willing to not press charges so long as the rooster was safely returned.

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Police said Cruz admitted to taking the bird home because he feared a passing driver would run over it.

Investigators put Fred in the back of a police cruiser and returned him to Reichert.

“I can’t describe to you the thankfulness I feel,” she said. “You just feel this wave of overwhelming emotion that you are so joyful that they are home and safe.”

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Reichert said she will keep Fred in her store for several days and then will lock his cage from here on out.

See a map of the store below:

Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly,

Jason Kelly joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2014. He serves as the station's Digital Executive Producer.

Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich,

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.