Escaped convict Alberto Morales, who remained at large late Thursday, three days after stabbing a Florida detective in a Grapevine Wal-Mart parking lot, has a long criminal record that includes a fascination with exotic birds.Morales once hid in a kitchen cabinet in a Florida house where he was trying to steal two macaws, and he shot several dogs to keep them quiet as he stole more than $250,000 worth of birds, according to 1990s arrest warrant affidavits obtained by the Star-Telegram.In one 1997 arrest in Dade County, Fla., Morales was found with 11 lovebirds stuffed inside a pillowcase -- with no water or food -- and jammed under a car seat.Florida, Texas and federal authorities have converged on North Texas to join local law officers hunting for the convicted sex offender. The reward for information leading to his capture has been increased to $20,000.Morales, 42, was described as a "very dangerous individual."He escaped from two Miami-Dade detectives who were escorting him from Florida to Las Vegas when they stopped about 11:20 p.m. Monday at a Wal-Mart in the 1600 block of Texas 114. While one officer went inside to use the restroom, Morales stabbed the other detective with a broken or sharpened piece of his eyeglasses and ran off, a Miami-Dade police spokeswoman has said.He was wearing a "belly bar" to which handcuffs were attached, and evidently only one shoe.On Wal-Mart security video, Morales runs away from the wounded detective, Jaime Pardinas, authorities said.Miami-Dade County officials who traveled here warned Thursday that Morales is a danger to the public.Deputy Mayor Genaro "Chip" Iglesias and Miami-Dade police Deputy Director Juan Perez visited Pardinas and his family at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.Pardinas is recovering, Iglesias said.'I needed the money'The arrest affidavits provide a glimpse of the life Morales led in Dade County, Fla., from 1994 to 1997.Morales, who was born in Cuba, listed his jobs as a laborer and roofer, but he once told police that he was unemployed because of a head injury.His Nevada attorney has said Morales told him that he was hit in the head with a baseball bat when he was 17, which caused lasting brain damage.In March 1994, Miami-Dade police arrested Morales for reckless driving, driving without a license and possession of stolen property.Morales was in trouble again in 1995, after police stopped him and found four stolen exotic birds valued at $5,000.The same year, Morales punched his girlfriend several times in the face when he came home and found that she had not prepared dinner.To avoid detection in a burglary, Morales shot several dogs at a wildlife center June 21, 1996, and stole almost $250,000 worth of wildlife, the affidavits say. He was arrested a few days later after selling four of the exotic animals to a police source.In November 1996, Morales was spotted walking through back yards and looking into windows of homes. When he was arrested, police seized a bag of cocaine and 11 lovebirds in a pillowcase found in Morales' car.In October 1997, police responded to a burglary-in-progress call in Dade County. Officers saw Morales trying to pry open an aviary that housed two macaws valued at $4,000. Morales dropped his gloves and pillowcases and ran.After a brief pursuit, officers found Morales hiding in a kitchen cabinet at a home near the aviary.Speaking in Spanish, Morales told the officers, "Forgive me; I needed the money."Information on the sentences Morales received for the crimes in Dade County was not available Thursday.In 2008, Morales pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a woman in 2003 at an apartment near the Las Vegas Strip. But he was sent back to Florida to face charges in another 2003 crime.In December in Miami, Morales was sentenced in the 2003 case to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual battery with a deadly weapon, burglary with assault, and kidnapping.Staff writer Bill Miller contributed to this report, which includes material from The Associated Press.Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763Twitter: @mingoramirezjr
Description of escapee
Alberto Morales is about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds. He has brown eyes; brown hair; scars on his left hand, left arm and nose; and discolored spots around his right eye and on his forehead. He has a tattoo of a Native American on a horse on his left shoulder and upper left arm. He was wearing dark shorts, a white hooded jacket and one tennis shoe when he escaped in Grapevine. A reward of $20,000 is offered for information leading to his capture. Anyone with information is asked to call Grapevine police at 817-410-8127.