Baby Jesus and Mary were kidnapped from the traditional nativity scene, shocking the family and neighbors in the suburban neighborhood. The crime was particularly surprising because the figurine of Mary had been nailed down.
Local law enforcement officials around the country say thefts from holiday displays are an unfortunate but familiar occurrence this time of year, and, unfortunately, the items are difficult to recover.
“It’s not uncommon to have vandalism to displays during the holiday season. And many people don’t report it when Rudolph gets taken from the front yard.”Rita Davis – spokeswoman Fort Collins Police Department
The Daily Times – Salisbury, Maryland – Jan 10, 2019, Thu • Page T5
The Grinch visited the Nativity scene in front of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Edwardsville last week, and parishioners walked past an empty manger to attend services Sunday. Someone stole the baby Jesus out of the creche scene at St. Boniface, likely during Christmas weekend (2015). Parish office manager Benna Denue said they first noticed it missing on Dec. 28. A report has since been filed with the Edwardsville Police Department.
The baby Jesus was made of handpainted Italian ceramic and donated to the church years ago by a family. Denue said its value is estimated at $250 or more, “not to mention the emotional and spiritual attachment that we have to the baby Jesus.” Several years ago, it happened to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edwardsville, which is next door to St. Boniface. The Jesus figurine was stolen with a note that read, “Think for yourself.”
No note was left this time, Denue said. But she said the theft was the center of Father Jeffrey Goeckner’s homily on Sunday, specifically the children’s movie, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” based on the book by Theodore Geisel, who wrote as Dr. Seuss. In the book, the Grinch steals all the decorations and trappings of Christmas from the Who village, but the villagers celebrate anyway with singing and joy, because “Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Around the country, many families and religious institutions have opted to chain or nail down their displays, install surveillance cameras or even adopt GPS technology to keep track of objects that might go astray. Todd Morris, founder, and CEO of BrickHouse Security sponsors a program called GPS Jesus. Morris has donated dozens of GPS devices to nonprofit groups for installation in their holiday public display objects. The company then works with local law enforcement to recover the property if something is stolen.
If somebody moves baby Jesus, e-mails and text messages go out to several people from our server and we can check with them to see if there’s a problem, if he should be moving, if he shouldn’t be moving. If they call us and say we can’t find him, we will log on while on the phone and interface with local law enforcement to help them track down baby Jesus.Todd Morris
The life-sized doll was snatched from the holy display outside St John’s Kirk (Scotland) at around 11:30 pm (2016) last night. Three young boys were seen acting suspiciously in the area at the time and were last seen near St John Street.
A frantic search was launched by cops who managed to trace the missing doll around 8.30 pm on Tuesday night. In Texas, a baby Jesus was stolen out of a front lawn nativity scene. “Well, we live in a pretty quiet neighborhood,” says Parker County resident Pam Washburn. The old barn was a gift from a neighbor, and the nativity set a $1,000 purchase from Costco. But just four hours after the Washburns set up their display, a security camera captured a woman Saturday night stepping into the brightly lit scene and stealing the star of the show. Baby Jesus was gone, leaving Mary and Joseph with no one to dote on.
Evansville Courier and Press – Evansville, Indiana Dec 6, 2017, Wed • Page A9