MAINZ, Germany — Police were called to an ice-cream parlor after a suspect demanded food and smashed a customer's coffee cup over the floor.
This was no ordinary troublemaker, however, but Alfred the swan.
The animal has become well known in Essen Kettwig, around 30 miles north of the German city of Cologne, after leaving the Ruhr river and roaming the town's cafes and shopping streets this summer.
"We serve him only water, but some of our guests feed him once in a while," said 24-year old Sara Hettchen, who owns one of Alfred's favorite haunts. "Sometimes he is already waiting outside and knocks on the window with his beak."
Every morning the bird waddles into the the Bridge Café in the hope of being served a treat from its cake display. Despite the animal's occasional petulant outbursts, Alfred has even become this summer's main attraction for some customers.
"He is very sweet, I can even pet him," said Hettchen, who named the animal but does not know its gender.
If this all sounds very genial, things take a different tone as soon as the bird doesn't get its way.
"After a customer refused to give food to the begging swan, it swiped the man's coffee cup off the table," said Davide Tizza, who works at the ice cream parlor across the street.
Outraged, the customer immediately called the police. But the police officers dispatched to the scene only asked "if the man expected them to press charges against the swan," Tizza told NBC News' German partner ZDF.
Despite his brush with the law, Alfred continues to rove through the town at its leisure, stopping only for photo shoots with passersby and regular snacks.