Police ponder biblical motives in baby Jesus thefts

| December 22, 2012

CLINTONVILLE, Wis. — Police investigating thefts from Nativity scenes at three area churches believe the thief was delivering a message: The baby Jesus does not belong there until Christmas.

In all three incidents involving Lutheran churches, only the baby Jesus figurines were stolen, lifted right out of their managers.

"I said, 'Hey, baby Jesus is gone,'" said Marvin Marotz, a parishioner who noticed the problem Sunday outside St. Paul Lutheran Church.

When police responded and checked other churches, they found baby Jesus figurines also had been absconded the same day from holiday crèches outside Christus Lutheran Church and St. Martin Lutheran Church.

Police Chief Terry Lorge suspects the thief believes that such displays should be historically accurate — and should not include Jesus until the day Christians celebrate his birth.

In a similar theft a few years ago in Clintonville, Lorge said, the baby Jesus figurine was returned to his manger on Christmas Eve, just as mysteriously as he had vanished.



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