(WXYZ) — Lauryn Siler may love exotic birds but detectives with the Macomb County Sheriff's Office accuse the 30-year-old woman of fabricating a story about a stolen parrot that could have sent a man to jail or even prison.
Action News has not named the man but spoke to him by phone after the tables were turned and now Siler and her fiancé are facing multiple felonies, including filing a False Report of a Felony.
"I hope they both go to prison to be honest with you for what they did," the 63-year-old man told Action News. "I'm just hoping that the prosecutor in this particular situation isn't going to bargain with them and just, you know, prosecutes them to the, you know, to the max."
The man spent a night in jail and was charged with misdemeanor larceny, but he could have faced felony charges because investigators said Siler claimed that the man forced his way inside her home and assaulted her before taking off with an Eclectus parrot that she claimed she and her fiancé purchased for $2,500.
"We did find that that parrot was not stolen and is now back with its rightful owner," said Sgt. Renee Yax of the Macomb County Sheriff's Office.
"I think the the big thing with this case is that it went to social media very quickly and that's an unfortunate thing because this victim, now he's been slandered all over social media," said Sgt. Yax. "People were feeling for the couple ... and they were the ones in the wrong here and, rightfully so, now they're being charged."
The parrot's name is Noori, and the 63-year-old man said he let the couple keep her for a short period of time because she was laying too many eggs and he was worried about a depletion in her calcium level.
The man's daughters said it was always about Noori's health for him because if she would mate with one of the couple's parrots, she'd sit on the eggs longer even if they were not viable long term.
The man began to feel Siler and her fiancé, Christopher Urbanczyk, were ignoring him when he wanted information about how Noori was doing so he went to talk to them.
The man said Siler let him into the home, but he began to feel uneasy about the whole situation and decided he'd better take his Noori back home with him.
The man denies ever assaulting Siler, something she claimed he did on her call to 911 when she told the dispatcher that he stole her parrot.
"We did find that that parrot was not stolen," said Sgt. Yax.
Investigators with the sheriff's office and Macomb County Animal Control looked into the paperwork provided by both parties and said they determined that receipt for the parrot provided by Siler was bogus.
The owner of the pet store in Royal Oak where the receipt came said they never sold an Eclectus parrot to Siler or Urbanczyk. The man said he was “just trying to help a friend out," according to investigators.
One of the 63-year-old man's adult daughters was able to retrieve documentation from the person in Ohio who sold her father the parrot.
Diane Bell said the documentation she was able to provide included paperwork that matches a series of numbers on a small metal band that sits around one of the bird's legs.
"I feel like I've wasted a couple of weeks of my life," Bell said about the time and effort it took to clear her father's name. "I'm gathering information. I'm copying and pasting, just doing my due diligence to make sure we had all of our ducks in a row to help my father."
Sgt. Yax said the following charges have been issued against Lauryn Siler as well as her fiancé Christopher Urbanczyk and that they each have valid warrants that have been entered into the court system.
Count 1: Uttering and Publishing (felony)
Count 2: False Report of a Felony (felony)
Count 3: False Report of a Felony (felony)
Count 4: Lying to a Peace Officer (misdemeanor)
The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office is working to get the judicial process started.
Retired Detroit Police Lieutenant Thomas Berry said Siler and her fiancé were lucky that they did not take their alleged lie to the witness stand.
"If they were ever to go to court and testify, and this came out, that would be a big felony for perjury," Berry said as he recalled the case against Detroit ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
"He was charged with perjury just because he lied on the stand, not because his indiscretions and having an affair, because he lied under oath."
According to Michigan law, if a peace (law enforcement) officer informs you that he or she is conducting a criminal investigation, you cannot "By any trick, scheme, or device, knowingly and willfully conceal from the peace officer any material fact relating to the criminal investigation; Knowingly and willfully make any statement to the peace officer that the person knows is false or misleading regarding a material fact in that criminal investigation; Knowingly and willfully issue or otherwise provide any writing or document to the peace officer that the person knows is false or misleading regarding a material fact in that criminal investigation.
If found guilty, punishment can be up to 93 days in jail or a fine of not more than $500.00 if the crime that was being investigated is a misdemeanor.
But if the crime that was being investigated is considered a serious misdemeanor or felony, punishment can be up to a year in prison, a fine of not more than $2,500.00, or both.
The penalties increase depending on the seriousness of the case that was being investigated.
What has been particularly alarming to the 63-year-old man who was originally accused of stealing the parrot investigators now acknowledge is his, were the threats he said he received from people who believed Siler and Urbanczyk and wanted to retaliate.
"People were threatening over social media, 'Hey let's go beat him up and steal all of his birds and let's go kill him,'" he said. "I mean, it got to the point, at first, I was so scared on everything, every time I pulled into my driveway, I checked like behind my workshop and everything else to make sure nobody is hiding."
The man is already battling health issues and the added stress is something his daughters said he didn't need.
"It was worrisome for my sister and I because my dad is not in the best health and we didn't know if people were going to go to his house or give him harassing phone calls because the information was displayed on Facebook and it was exploding in the bird community," Bell said.
In response to one of Siler's comments on Facebook, a man wrote, "I'm told you know exactly where he lives... We could round up some bad***** (I'm one) and go get your bird. I'd probably hurt him, but that's the price you pay for stealing."
Urbanczyk told 7 Action News that he and Siler are not commenting on the charges against them until they talk to their attorney.