UPDATE | The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office referred charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty against three young men to the State Attorney's Office. Authorities say the men were involved in killing the peacocks.
The sheriff's office says the men admitted to hunting the peacocks in an effort to harvest them as food.
The men had a sleepover and went hunting at night, killing the birds with air rifles. They say they started walking home with the dead birds, but dropped them in a storm drain because they got scared, thinking a vehicle was coming towards them.
The peacocks were later found in the storm drain by a witness who reported it to the sheriff's office two days later. Authorities say the peacocks did not appear to have been tortured, beaten or mutilated. They were free-roaming in the neighborhood and did not have any owners, according to the sheriff's office.
No other information was immediately available.
ORIGINAL STORY | The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is searching for a vehicle they say is related to the shooting deaths of two peacocks in a Riverview neighborhood.
Authorities say the two birds were found dead on Wednesday on the 12400 block of Windswept Avenue. They believe they were shot with a pellet gun.
A witness told authorities they saw a four door black Ford F-150 in the area before the birds were found. It had black rims, a busted tail light and a Costa sticker in the back window, authorities say.
There were four teenagers in the truck, two that were sitting in the bed holding pellet guns. Authorities say those two teenagers were white males, it's unknown at this time if the other teenagers were also white.
Detectives are searching surveillance video from the area. Authorities say the culprits will face felony animal cruelty and criminal mischief charges.
The Sheriff's Office wants to remind residents that social media is not an appropriate tool to report a crime. The best way to report an incident is to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200 to reach a deputy and file a formal report.
Anyone with information should call the number lsited above.