According to a report from ABC Radio Adelaide, the unidentified criminal stole the nearly 7ft-tall costume sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning from the Australian Sesame Street Circus Spectacular. The circus located in Bonython Park claims the costume included real ostrich feathers, and has an estimated worth of $160,000 AUD — about $124,000 USD.
South Australia Police put out a “missing bird” post on their Facebook page yesterday. “Have you seen Big Bird??” they asked. They confirmed that investigative units were looking into the situation.
Circus director Keith Brown told ABC Radio Adelaide that he believed the thief likely used bolt cutters in order to steal the costume, based on how it was stored.
“We all live on-site, it’s a traveling touring show. It’s the first time Sesame Street has joined the circus — we have to remember this is an international circus show,” he said. “[The costumes] come specially from New York.”
The Adelaide circus’ official Facebook also delivered the heartbreaking news to patrons. “Unfortunately Big Bird won’t be joining us on our upcoming shows, until further notice,” they posted.
Parents were devastated to learn that Big Bird had been taken. “This is so sad.. why do some humans choose to be so dishonest and unethical.. give Big Bird back to his friends and family!!!!!!!” one commented. “Someone is a complete tosser. Stealing an outfit and ruining a show meant for kids,” added another.
Luckily, police and Brown believe the Big Bird mystery may soon be solved, thanks to a nearby trail of feathers the thief left behind.
“He’s left a couple of feathers down Port Road for us, so maybe some of those cameras on Port Road will help us,” he said. “We have a lot of cameras around the area so we hope something will come up on the footage.”
Police also noted that they were aware of a Facebook Marketplace ad for a Big Bird costume. At this time they have deemed the sale a “hoax,” according to their official statement.
The Sesame Street Circus Spectacular also confirmed in a later Facebook post that despite the unfortunate events, “the show must go on.”
Local officials have encouraged anyone with information on Big Bird’s whereabouts to come forward.
Big Bird isn’t the only Sesame Street character in the news recently. Two Black muppets were added to the cast in an effort to teach children about race, and a report from late March revealed that Elmo himself was voiced by a Black puppeteer for nearly 30 years.