– A repentant thief returns the gold-plated weatherbird after almost 25 years
One wine evening, a young man stole a rooster and found it in the basement of his house. He made a mistake by sending it back anonymously.
Nearly 25 years ago, a gold-plated weather rooster disappeared from the southwestern French village of Bessan, and now a remorseful thief has returned the iron rooster in the mail, prosecutors said Tuesday. Raphael Baland, a public prosecutor in Béziers, said that the Florensac gendarmerie identified the thief who removed the gold-plated iron rooster from a cross on April 1, 1999.
He is a man born in 1975 who admitted to the robbery, which was carried out for fun on a drunken evening. After that, he did not dare to return it until he recently discovered the piece in a cache in the basement of his house, according to what the public prosecutor said, without revealing the identity of the perpetrator.
However, he can no longer be tried under criminal law because his crime has passed. Therefore, the Public Prosecutor suspended the proceedings.
The weatherbird reappeared at the end of November – in a parcel marked “Mr. Gallinassi” (in German: Mister Hone), which was delivered to local historian Michele Sabatieri.
After receiving the package, Sabatieri “kindly informed the municipality, which in turn summoned the public prosecutor's office,” said Bessan's mayor, Stéphane Pepin Bonnet. They immediately began an investigation, which made it possible to identify the sender. “Mr. Galinassi” made a huge mistake during shipping: the weather bird was sent to a post office in the same department and the postage was paid by credit card.
The rooster will take his old place on the cross again. According to Mayor Bipin Puneet, this time it should be “properly secured so that it does not fly away.”
“It may be a matter of youthful stupidity and the story has a happy ending,” he said. However, at the small ceremony marking the return of the weatherbird, he will emphasize that “this kind of thing is part of the heritage of this village.”