Charlie the parrot is missing; his cry might be 'HELP!'

Somewhere out there is a colorful parrot named Charlie.

Somewhere in a green frame house on Rock Hill's Izard Street is a sweet lady named Willie Crosby worrying about her friend.

Charlie the parrot was apparently taken from Crosby's back porch sometime overnight Saturday, Rock Hill police say. Someone snatched him from his perch on the ledge, police believe, taking his cage and a purple bicycle, too.

Crosby, 66, said she last saw her fast-talking friend about 7 p.m. Saturday, before she went to bed feeling ill from a visit to the doctor earlier that day.

The next morning, she put on her Sunday best. Waiting for her ride to Flint Hill Baptist Church, she remembered to go out back to feed Charlie, a green and gray Macaw. She expected to hear his daily salutation: "Hello. Step right up."

'Strangest thing'

Instead, she was met with silence -- for the first time in five years.

"It was the strangest thing. They took the cage and all," Crosby said Monday afternoon. "I don't see how they got away without me hearin' it. Charlie screams to let you know if somebody comes through that door."

At church, she asked folks who stop by her house from time to time if they might have moved the bird somewhere. Nope. Crosby asked relatives, friends and neighbors, too. No sign of Charlie. So she called the police.

But what kind of person steals a little lady's pet parrot?

"Must have been a wino or dopehead or somebody needin' money," Crosby speculated, noting birds like Charlie can fetch up to $500. "They couldn't have gotten too far with that cage. It's heavy. And when Charlie gets mad, he'll throw his food and water around, so I know they got that mess all over 'em."

This is the first time in recent memory that police have investigated a stolen parrot, said Lt. Jerry Waldrop, a 30-year department veteran.

Charlie knows how to say "Help," Crosby said. Maybe someone will hear him.

Until then, Crosby, who also has a Pomeranian pup, Katie, just hopes Charlie is safe. Retired from Springs Industries, she relies on oxygen tanks to help her breathe. And she relies on Charlie, a gift from her daughter, Sheila, to help keep her company.

"I used to go out there and just talk to him," she said.

"If they would've asked me, I might would've given him to 'em. I'm gettin' sick, and I can't always keep up with cleaning his cage," she added. "I just don't know what happened. I've never had any trouble around here before. I sure miss him."