Happy birthday dear goose thief

Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:04am EDT
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TAIPEI (Reuters) - Police in Taiwan served a lonely man cake and sang happy birthday after arresting him for stealing a goose to celebrate on his own, an officer in charge said on Friday.

Police in the southern township of Neipu treated the 49-year-old suspect, surnamed Lee, on Thursday after they caught him making off with the bird from a betel nut plantation, said Hsiao Chi-liang, second in command at the local police station.

"It was his birthday and he stole it to celebrate, so we bought him a cake," Hsiao said. "He was very surprised."

Officers took pity on Lee because he was poor, single and living in a shabby home, Hsiao said.

A Taiwan newspaper showed the dishevelled criminal suspect in the police station shoveling his single-serving of cake from a plastic take-out box.

Nevertheless, police have sent Lee's case to the prosecutor's office for possible trial.

(Reporting by Ralph Jennings; Editing by Nick Macfie)

<p>A goose sits on a stall at a poultry market in Beijing October 25, 2005. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV</p>