Nativity scene figurines stolen from St. Joseph church returned

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In the small central Minnesota city of St. Joseph, prayers have been answered.

Last week, thieves targeted the Nativity scene outside the Church of St. Joseph, swiping figurines of Mary, Joseph and several animals valued at more than $1,000.

Rev. Jerome Tupa, the church's pastor, had been praying for their return.

“They all came back,” Tupa told the Star Tribune. “I have a feeling it was a prank by some young kids and they realized: ‘Uh-oh, we could really be in some trouble.’”

Tuesday morning, parish staff discovered the small statues had been brought back to the church, including a shepherd that had been taken a week earlier.

"We're still missing a cow and maybe a sheep or two," Sandy Scholz, the church's business manager, told the St. Cloud Times.

The Star Tribune notes the lead character, baby Jesus, was not at risk. He isn't placed in the manger until Christmas.

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