SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Southern California mother and daughter believe it's a Christmas miracle that their stuffed pigeon stolen on the last day of their San Francisco vacation, was recovered safely by SFPD.
Twelve-year-old Faith who requested we use only her first name was at a restaurant with her mom along 5th and Market streets on the last day of their vacation earlier in Dec. Surveillance video from the eatery shows a man with a walker slowly walk toward Faith who is already sitting down. The man sits down behind her and can be seen taking her black mini backpack, and moments later walk out of the restaurant.
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The sobs from Faith were heartbreaking.
"He's just so cold-blooded for robbing me, just a kid trying to have fun. I got him when I was six and he's from Santa and I love him so much," said the tween via Zoom.
After their return home, Faith's mom Jennifer even flew back to San Francisco to search for Pidgey. After more than a week and no leads in sight, this mother and daughter duo who rescue real pigeons felt like giving up.
"I definitely lost hope, I didn't think we'd see him again," said Faith on Friday afternoon.
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That is, until San Francisco police gave Jennifer a call Wednesday night while the family was at a SoCal theme park.
"We didn't want to scream in public, but we were hyperventilating in the best possible way!" she beamed.
SFPD tells ABC7 that plainclothes officers identified the man as a person with a criminal history. A search warrant was executed for his residence in the area of Franklin and Golden Gate Ave.
"We know there are other victims that are related to these thefts the suspect has committed," said SFPD public information officer Robert Rueca.
Turns out, among the items seized was indeed a slightly dirty, but unharmed Pidgey Magoo. Making this story even more remarkable, is how he'll make it home, just in time for Christmas.
"An officer is driving down to SoCal to be with his family - we thought it would be perfect for him to reunite the missing item with the family," says Rueca.
As for Faith, she and her mom will continue to foster pigeons. She says this has been a lesson in situational awareness and determination. She sends this message to all who helped in the search, especially SFPD.
"We probably wouldn't have found Pidgey without them. It's really cool they helped us that much and they're really good at their job."
The suspect is still at large.
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