Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Photographs show thieving birds stealing quarters from a car wash.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Origins: Many readers spotted this item about avian coin thieves on the Utah Birds web site. The Utah birds folks were
A newsperson from
As described above, after Mr. Dougherty discovered the Fredericksburg car wash machine was coming up several hundred dollars short per week, he initially suspected his employees of using pass keys to loot the machine. When he set undertook a surveillance mission with a camera in hand to catch the thieves in action he did indeed manage to snap pictures of the perpetrators in the act, but they weren't quite what he expected. Not only were the "thieves" who were stealing the quarters of the avian variety; they were working in tandem to do so: one bird would go up inside the machine to jimmy coins loose, and the other birds would grab them and fly off with them.
Starlings, the birds pictured here, are often attracted to bright, shiny objects and will collect them for nesting or
The claim that an accumulated $4,000 in change was retrieved from the roof of the car wash is an embellishment. The car wash operator did not report finding any such rooftop stash, although his discovering a few hundred quarters on the ground around the machine some mornings was not uncommon.
Last updated: 19 October 2004
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.