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Pigeon-Napper Identified, But Won't Face Criminal Charges

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mystery solved. We now know who hauled off dozens of pigeons from the Uptown neighborhood to northwestern Indiana, and why he did it.

CBS 2's Brad Edwards reports a farmer from Lake County has been found in violation of Indiana state regulations.

Herb Govert owns the white pickup truck that was seen in the 4700 block of North Broadway earlier this month, when two men captured dozens of pigeons in a net, after spreading some kind of food on the ground, then hauled them away.

Ald. James Cappleman (46th) had arranged it, but had declined to identify the farmer who had offered to capture the pigeons. Cappelman has been waging a war on pigeons, proposing an ordinance to make it a crime punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail for feeding the pigeons.

He was also accosted by a woman last spring, after he cleared away breadcrumbs she had spread for pigeons near Broadway and Wilson Avenue.

Indiana Department of Natural Resources Lt. Jerry Shepherd said, after learning about the pigeons being captured and brought across state lines, they tracked down the man who brought them to Indiana: Herb Govert.

Shepherd said Govert admitted going to Chicago to trap the pigeons and bringing them back to his farm for pigeon shoots, although he did not have a permit to import the pigeons.

He's been told to apply for the proper permits.

"All we want out of him is to gain compliance, and it's a simple matter for him to apply through the Department of Natural Resources' Fish and Wildlife Division to get the permit," he said.

Indiana officials will not seek any criminal action against Govert.

"All we want him to do is be in compliance, and get a permit. He didn't know about it, and we're not going to punish him that way. We're going to give him a chance to come into compliance, and let it go at that," Shepherd said.

Shepherd said the CBS 2 reports on the pigeons created a stir at his department, "but the individual doing what he was doing was not a big deal for Indiana, because people have pigeon shoots all the time."

Cappelman's office has only said a farmer wanted the pigeons alive.

Govert lives on a cul-de-sac in Lake County. He didn't want to talk on camera when contacted at home.

Shepherd said Govert also has been advised to contact Illinois state officials to determine if he violated any Illinois laws by capturing the pigeons and taking them to Indiana.

It's estimated in multiple trips he netted a couple hundred birds in all, and used them in legal pigeon shoots in fields in rural Indiana.

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