Romanian pigeons thieves given 30-month prison sentence

A court in Antwerp has sentenced three Romanian men  to 30 months imprisonment for the theft of 55 racing pigeons from a pigeon loft in Ranst (Antwerp province). Among the pigeons stolen were to prize birds, Iron Lady and Lilly. The court also awarded pigeon fancier from whom the birds were stolen 300,000 euro in compensation. This figure could be increased once the value of the two prize birds has been fixed. None of the stolen pigeons have been found.          

On 14 November 2016 the pigeon fancier went to his pigeon loft only to discover that half of his pigeons were stolen. One of the birds that had been take was his prize pigeon Iron Lady Ellie. Iron Lady Ellie’s value is estimated at 200,000 euro. The theft cause a major stir in international  pigeon fancying circles. Thanks to a number of tips police were able to detain three Romanian that were reported to have stolen the birds to order.

The thieves continued to protest their innocence throughout the investigation. However, evidence obtained from phone taps proved that the men had stolen the pigeons. None of the stolen birds have ever been found. It is likely that they have been sold on for breeding purposes. As insurance companies would not provide cover for the birds they were not insured. The victim of the theft had asked the court to grant him 700,000 euro compensation. However, he had been provisionally awarded 300,000 euro.