Every reporter dreams of that one story that will prove his worth and send him to the top. The trouble is, that story generally finds you; you don’t find it. Live 5’s Hatzel Vela has apparently found his career-defining story. And it’s a beauty. Vela reports:

An abduction mystery that has feathers flying in North Charleston. A barber says his Carolina Cocky has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom.

There are suspicions a Clemson fan may be the Cocky Caper.

“I know he’s alive, and I would love to get him back home,” said Gig Richardson.

A prank that’s lasted more than a year, still unsolved.

Gig Richardson, a huge Carolina fan, says things haven’t been the same since Cocky was taken, snatched right from his job at Don’s Barber Shop.

“To me it was a really neat gift and the kids really enjoyed it,” said Richardson.

Word is, the pet poultry is alive.

Forty-seven ransom notes are the evidence. Not to mention the phone messages, where you can hear the rooster crowing begging for help!

Another favorite is where Cocky is forced to wear a Clemson helmet, or the pictures showing Cocky in several states, along his road trip.

Yeah. Yeah. It’s not serious news. And for that we should all be grateful. There’s a place for the nod-and-a-wink story in the popular press. It’s a proud tradition that goes way way back. Edgar Allen Poe was particular skilled, whether he was writing about a hypnotized man who apparently cheated death to a transatlantic balloon trip that ended on Sullivans Island:

On April 13, 1844 a broadside, or ‘extra page,’ appeared in the midday issue of the New York Sun (the same newspaper that ran the Great Moon Hoax back in 1835) announcing that the famous European balloonist Monck Mason had succeeded in flying across the Atlantic Ocean in 75 hours. If true, this would have been a remarkable achievement—the first time the Atlantic had ever been crossed in a balloon.

The balloon, named the Victoria, had apparently taken off from England on a trip to Paris, but had been blown off course due to a propeller accident and ended up floating across the Atlantic and landing on Sullivan’s Island, near Charleston, South Carolina.

On Friday, Live 5 and Vela did a follow up report on the missing mascot:

Reporter Hatzel Vela, who did the story last Friday, got the unusual mail with no return address.

Much to his surprise, when he opened the packet there were pictures of the missing cocky, showing the pet poultry watching the story on Live 5 News.

Also in the packet, a ransom note, which partly read, “there will be more letters, but maybe we can negotiate a release through channel 5.”

It is Channel 5 not to get involved, and management has forwarded all the notes to the proper authorities.