Cops and bird experts are trying to solve the mystery surrounding 10 racing pigeons worth an estimated 100,000 EUR which were found dumped in a sports bag in the middle of a city centre.
The bag of pigeons was found in the centre of Frankfurt, a city in the German state of Hesse.
According to local media, the sports bag was left behind by a yet unknown man or woman in the middle of the old town of the German banking capital.
After the police were alerted to the unusual find, the pigeons were brought to 79-year-old pensioner Werner Weischedel for safekeeping in one of his aviaries.
Weischedel said: “The animals were put in a small sports bag, which sat abandoned in the city centre.”
The German pensioner, who was a hunting and fishing supervisor, often takes care of found animals but has never seen something as unusual as the bag of pigeons.
He said: “The police often bring me injured birds. I have 50 canaries myself, chickens, quails, pigeons.
“I nourish found animals and suspect that these pigeons were stolen.”
Weischedel described the pigeons as “well-fed, healthy and with the greatest posture” and says they obviously come from the same owner.
Remarkably, all the pigeons had their right wing trimmed in an unprofessional way.
Weischedel said: “All the flight feathers have been cut off. No pigeon-holder would do that. Most likely the thief did it to prevent them from flying away.”
He said that it takes a half year for the pigeon to grow their feathers back until they are able to fly again.
Despite the pigeons having rings and clearly being professional racing pigeons, Weischedel has not managed to locate the owner yet despite calling around.
Weischedel said: “The oldest pigeon form the bag is from 2008 according to the ring. Nobody nourishes their racing pigeons so long when they are not something special and do not bring home prize money.”
Being racing pigeons, Weischedel said the birds are worth a small fortune.
He said: “They are valuable animals. I estimate that each bird is worth around 10,000 EUR (8,670 GBP).”