A trio of teens in upstate New York devoured a town's beloved mother swan and stole its four-week-old babies on Memorial Day, according to police.
The town of Manlius' swan pond has been a safe haven for the elegant creatures since 1905. It is a place where townspeople have long fed and cared for the birds, including the late swan mother named Faye, owned by the village.
The Associated Press indicated that the swans' significance is evidenced by their inclusion in insignia on the town's website as well as in is identity.
Manlius Mayor Paul Whorrall said, "The swans have been a part of this village for well over 100 years. ... We’re known for our swans."
Manlius police Sgt. Ken Hatter noted, "The Village of Manlius is one of the only entities in New York that has a permit to have them housed, maintained, owned, and transport[ed], and they cannot be removed from their location legally."
Eighteen-year-old Eman Hussan and two other teens, ages 16 and 17, climbed the metal fence hemming in the pond and stole inside the preserve on Monday, sometime between midnight and 3 a.m., reported CNY Central.
The teens later claimed that they were "hunting," though poaching swans is illegal in the state.
The trio allegedly ambushed Faye as the swan was nesting, held it down, and savaged it. It died with neither a fight nor a song.
Police indicated that after widowing Faye's mate, Manny, the teens took the dead mother swan back to one of their residences along with its four cygnets.
Hatter said, "They brought it back to an aunt’s house and the aunt prepared it."
"The mother swan was consumed. ... Sad to say, but that's what they did," said Whorrall.
The Town of Manlius Police Department announced Tuesday that the four stole cygnets were found and placed in the care of the biologist tasked with ensuring the health and well-being of the swans for the village.
Two of the cygnets had been found along with two of the suspects at the Black Friday Bins, a store at the Shop City Plaza in the Town of Salina, where one of the teens was employed. The other two cygnets were located at a residence in Syracuse.
According to CNY Central, three of the suspects were charged with grand larceny in the third degree, a class D felony, conspiracy in the fifth degree, and criminal trespass in the third degree.
While the teens had jumped a fence to get into a protected swan pond known for its protected swans, Hatter said, "They did not know that it was a swan, and they did not know that it was not a wild animal, that it was actually owned by the Village of Manlius," reported the New York Post.
Whorrall noted that the swans have "been ours forever. And we will continue. The public needs to know that this is not ending. We will continue to have swans and hopefully, at some point get back to normal."
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