Police: Wimbledon hawk stolen
LONDON -- A hawk being used to patrol skies and deter pigeons from the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships has been stolen, police said Saturday.
Rufus, a Harris hawk, was stolen with its cage between Thursday night and Friday morning from a car parked on a private driveway in the southwestern suburb of Wimbledon, said London's Metropolitan police.
The company that owns the hawk had left a rear window of the car open for ventilation, according to police.
The hawk, a family pet, flies above the tennis lawns every day, scaring away smaller birds such as pigeons that could distract the players and bother the audience.
Police said the family is "very distressed" about the theft of the 4½-year-old hawk, which is trained not to attack but to circle the courts to scare off smaller birds.
Hawks have been used to clear the skies above Wimbledon during the tournament for about 12 years, as an environmentally friendly form of pest control.
Rufus would fly above the courts every morning and evening during the annual two-week tournament. He did not fly during matches because that could distract players.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
MORE TENNIS HEADLINES
- Nadal, Berdych through to Aussie quarters
- Sharapova, Bouchard to meet in quarters
- Wawrinka celebrates Aussie win with selfie
- Bouchard: Focus on tennis, not 'Twirlgate'
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Wimbledon 2012 -- June 25-July 8
Serena and Venus Williams
Jonathan Marray and Frederik Nielsen
Lisa Raymond and Mike Bryan
Slam Central »
Follow us on Twitter »
Watch on ESPN
Wimbledon alerts: Text "Wimbledon" to 43776