Baby Jesus has been reported missing, according to Bobbi Jo Beers, Executive Director at the Bethel Chamber of Commerce. “We went to go get Baby Jesus on January 6, the day of the Epiphany, and found it missing. We didn't report it right away, and hoped maybe someone would return it.”
“This is the second or third time this has happened. We don't want to bolt the Baby Jesus down, but this costs the Chamber of Commerce a lot of money,” Beers said.
Beers recounted the routine with each year's creche, located on PT Barnum Square. “Usually Pat Smithwick places the Baby Jesus in the creche at about 10:30 pm on Christmas Eve and she brings it back home on the date of the Epiphany. She stores the Baby Jesus all year long.”
Beers calls for the plaster sculpture of Jesus to be returned. “No charges will be pressed. We don't even care if you want to keep it all year long, we just want to know that the Baby Jesus is safe. Just tell us if you plan on bringing it back.”
The theft was reported early on Monday afternoon, and Police Captain Robert Cedergren said that he did not believe that the theft was the work of teens. “We think it was some well meaning citizen that took Baby Jesus and will return it miraculously on Christmas Eve next year. Please bring Baby Jesus back to the Police Department so that we can return Baby Jesus from whence he came. The poor ladies at the Chamber are worried about it, and it is expensive. You can't just go down to Target and buy another Baby Jesus.”
Cedergren explained that stealing Baby Jesus is a common prank and that this happens every few years or so. “One year a well meaning citizen took Baby Jesus in order to prevent someone else from taking it. Please just return it and nobody will ask any questions,” he said.
Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, Pat Smithwick, said that this happened a few years ago and she put out a doll the next year until they could afford another one. “People who steal Baby Jesus don't stop to think that it costs money, and when you put up a creche, you are doing this for the community.
Bobbi Jo Beers was researching the purchase of a new Baby Jesus on-line and said that to purchase a new one could cost as much as $300. She even turned up a Wikipedia page called Baby Jesus Theft, where it was revealed that one could purchase a Baby Jesus with a GPS installed.