A nearly-bare Nativity scene stands outside a small central Minnesota church after thieves recently swiped some of its notable characters.
The St. Cloud Times reports figurines of Mary, Joseph and three sheep were stolen from the Church of St. Joseph's front lawn last Thursday night. A shepherd was also taken on Thanksgiving Day.
With only a couple barnyard animals remaining, parish staff hope the figurines valued at more than $1,000 will be returned.
“I frankly have been praying for the person that took it, that maybe this will be a moment of change in their life,” Rev. Jerome Tupa told the newspaper.
Unfortunately, outdoor nativity scenes are a catalyst for senseless criminal activity this time of year.
The theft of a baby Jesus figurine has become a recurring problem in the Boston suburb of Quincy, Massachusetts. Last week, the statue was stolen from the Quincy Center Nativity scene despite being very heavy and bolted to the manger. The figurine of Mary was also taken.
In past incidents, the Quincy Center's baby Jesus was eventually recovered, but that's not the outcome in most cases.
For that reason, Todd Morris, the founder and CEO of BrickHouse Security, sponsors a program called GPS Jesus. ABC News reported Morris has donated dozens of GPS devices to more than 100 nonprofit groups to track their public holiday displays if stolen.