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The Case of the Purloined Parakeet Causes a Flap in Quiet Laguna Beach

And you thought Tweety had problems with Sylvester.

In Laguna Beach, a resident told police that, after her parakeet flew away, she received a call from a nearby resident who said, “I have your bird. Give me $100 and you can have him back.”

The owner resisted. So the property manager at the victim’s complex attempted to resolve the matter by buying another parakeet for the finder, the Laguna News-Post reported.

But the substitute bird was refused because the finder liked how well trained the original was. The victim then phoned police. And Animal Control officers recovered the missing bird, the newspaper said.

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I phoned Laguna police Friday but was unable to find anyone who could tell me whether any laws had been broken. Or, more important, what had happened to the substitute bird.

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More fowl play: A woman phoned police, the Los Alamitos News-Enterprise said, to complain about a neighbor’s bantam rooster that “roams free” and visits her front yard when “the children walk to school.”

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Unreal estate: Today’s showings (see accompanying) include:

* A property that must be in a pretty windy area (Anne Schoenberger of Long Beach).

* A house that Donald Baldridge of La Canada-Flintridge calculates has only one-fourth of a bathroom.

* A garage that must have been built for horses (Nora Travis of La Palma).

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* And, finally, in the category of eternal housing, Dennis Rhoads of Arroyo Grande writes: “Every time we go to Sedona, Ariz., I can’t help but feel that the ‘No Outlet’ sign is redundant. Also, Pine seems to be an appropriate name for a street where a cemetery is.” (see photo).

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Seeing red: Several beauty salons in Riverside and San Bernardino counties were sued for allegedly using the same bottle of nail polish for multiple patrons, the L.A. Daily Journal reports.

The plaintiff, a self-proclaimed watchdog, said such a practice violated state sanitation laws. But the Journal quoted a state official who disputed that notion.

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Anyway, I liked the very appropriate quote from a lawyer for the defendants. He said: “We will battle tooth and nail in the courts.”

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Sinking Lakers: I mentioned that it seems obvious that the Lakers are not going to win a fourth straight NBA title and I asked readers for a phrase to sum up this depressing fact.

Daryl Studebaker suggested “four flushers” and Kelvin Filer offered “four-get it” (though Filer said he secretly believes the Lakers will somehow finish on top again). Rich Roberts said he switched from one miserable Laker performance on TV “to the History Channel, which had a special on the Titanic. There were several similarities.”

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miscelLAny: You can have your cake, but.... The Seal Beach Sun reported that an intruder “was found in the kitchen of a hotel eating cake. The man was arrested after running from police.”

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Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LA-TIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A. 90012 and by e-mail at steve.harvey@latimes.com.

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