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Burglary victim "heartbroken'

If whoever who broke into Jonnie Greer's home had simply stolen some jewelry and money, the 66-year-old grandmother probably would not be so crushed.

But the thief or thieves also took something far more valuable: her beloved companion, a 2{-year-old parrot named Chico.

"I'm heartbroken," Greer said. "I'm just so sick over my bird."

When Greer came home about 3 p.m. Monday, she noticed some things out of place. A tank of propane had been moved in front of a sliding glass door. Another sliding glass door was open.

In her bedroom, someone had stripped the cases from the pillows, apparently to carry off loot.

In the family room, Chico's cage stood open and empty.

She was stunned.

"Then I got hysterical," Greer said. "They got all my jewelry, but that stuff is just stuff. They took my companion away from me."

Greer has had Chico since the bird was about a month old, hand-feeding him with a syringe and occasionally giving him treats of cheesy grits and scrambled eggs when he got older. Chico, a blue-fronted Amazon parrot, is especially talkative.

The bird can say, "Wanna dance?" followed by "One, two, cha-cha-cha" or "Mambo No. 5," said Greer, who likes to dance and listen to music. At night, when she would place a sheet over his cage, the bird would say "Nighty-night sweetheart."

The bird also can say, "You look good," "Hello, how are you," "Did you miss Mommy?" and "Uh-oh" when a toy at the top of the cage fell.

"It's unreal the stuff this bird would say," Greer said.

She worries that Chico, whose wings recently were clipped, may have a tough time surviving after being pampered for so long. She doesn't like to think about her bird being stuffed into one of her pillowcases.

"He really could not have gotten away from anybody," Greer said.

Oddly, the burglars did not take her stereo, DVD player, televisions or liquor. In addition to Chico, they took her jewelry box, some pocket change on her bedroom furniture and some silver dollars and $2 bills from a briefcase.

"Any money they could take, they took," Greer said.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is investigating the break-in. Sheriff's spokesman Cal Dennie said it's not unusual for thieves to take exotic birds because they're worth some money. Chico, Dennie said, is worth $1,500.

"People are burglarizing homes to get these birds because they are sort of expensive," Dennie said.

The burglars broke in through a bedroom window at Greer's home, near East Lake High School. Greer, who has lived in East Lake for 19 years, has six grown children, 17 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

This is the first time her home has been burglarized, she said.

Her message to the burglars is this: "Please bring him back."

"It's just, he's your family," Greer said. "You can't replace him."

Greer said she is offering an unspecified reward for Chico's return or any information that leads to the return of her bird. For more information on the reward, call her at (727) 938-5484.

_ Ed Quioco can be reached at 445-4185 or