As the mystery continues, the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person — or people — responsible for the theft of the bald eagle last week from the Quogue Wildlife Refuge has gone up again, this time from $12,500 to $20,000.
Sam, also known as Sammy, was stolen from his enclosure at the refuge on Old Country Road sometime between 2:15 a.m. and 4:15 a.m. on July 16, authorities said. The initial reward of $10,000 was increased earlier this week to $12,500.
The new reward will include $10,000 from the Suffolk County SPCA and up to $5,000 each from Crime Stoppers and the Nassau County SPCA.
Sam arrived at the refuge 31 years ago after a gunshot wound left him flightless, and he has been eating a combination of fish, venison or rats daily, supplemented with vitamins.
"We are making progress" on the investigation, Quogue Village Police Lt. Daniel Hartman said Tuesday. "We've gotten a lot of information on the tip line and there are leads that our detectives and our sergeant are looking at right now. I'm hoping for a good resolution."
Hartman said authorities plan on charging anyone arrested in the case to the fullest extent of the law. Initial charges would likely include the felony charge of fourth-degree grand larceny, as well as misdemeanor charges. There is also the potential for a suspect — or suspects — to be charged under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, officials said. Maximum penalties under the act carry up to a $250,000 fine and 2 years in federal prison.
Anyone with information should call Quogue police at 631-653-4791 or Suffolk police at 800-220-8477, or text “SCPD” and the message to “CRIMES” (274637). Callers may remain anonymous.
The Suffolk SPCA can be reached at 631-382-7722.