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Protected falcon stolen from LI wildlife sanctuary returned

LOCUST VALLEY, N.Y.  — A federally protected falcon stolen from a Long Island wildlife sanctuary late last week was found unharmed in a box just hours after news of his kidnapping broke.

Officials say Buster, an American kestrel stolen Friday from the Volunteers for Wildlife, was found Sunday night after he was left on the doorstep of the Nassau County hospital and educational center.

Buster appeared hungry, but unharmed when he was returned, according to a post on the Volunteers for Wildlife Facebook page.

Sanctuary representatives told reporters that they would not press charges if Buster was returned unharmed to the refuge, which is located at Bailey Arboretum in Lattingtown.

“To whomever took him, we don’t care who you are,” the organization posted on Facebook. “We will not ask questions or press charges.”

Jim Jones, a Volunteers for Wildlife board member, says he and others believe the thief may have been familiar with the facility’s operations.

Buster was rescued by the sanctuary 14 years ago after he was found screaming for food outside Central Park.

PIX11’s Aliza Chasan contributed to this report.