In what’s become almost a right of passage for bored teenagers, year after year police agencies are inundated with reports from people claiming that someone has kidnapped the baby Jesus from their nativity scenes. The practice has become so prevalent that a security company has begun to offer GPS tracking services to churches and other non-profit organizations free of charge throughout the month of December, and in a report out of the Seattle-area, retailers claim that baby Jesus is the most shoplifted item throughout the holiday season. Today we’ll have a look at some of the more colorful baby Jesus abduction cases from 2016.

Mary and Joseph Cited for Child Neglect


Fittingly enough, in the city of Bethlehem, a woman took baby Jesus from a nativity scene set up at Payrow Plaza on December 4, 2016. The woman, later identified as 49-year-old Jacqueline Ross, then took the figurine to a local hospital and attached a note. The note read: “Child has broken right foot which is been [sic] neglected. Parents Joseph and Mary Christ got a warning.” according to a report from the Associated Press. Though the woman claimed that it was only a prank, she is now facing charges including theft and institutional vandalism for taking the Jesus, valued at $2,700.

Single Dad


In a case out of New Hampshire, vandals decided to leave Jesus alone and take Mary instead. In the front lawn of Shirl Kula, where Mary was stolen from, a sign reads: “Please help! Mary Missing, Joseph Doesn’t Want to be a Single Dad!” Having been the victims of vandals in previous years, the Kulas wait until midnight to put baby Jesus out on Christmas day, this year the pranksters struck anyway. Kula says she doesn’t want to prosecute, she just wants them to bring Mary back.

The True Meaning of Christmas


When pranksters stole a baby Jesus from the nativity scene at Trinity Lutheran Church in Saline, MI it didn’t take long for police to track down the culprits. Though Jesus had only been missing for a short time, the missing child had upset a 4-year-old so badly that she and her mother wrapped up a doll and placed it into the manger as a replacement. The church was so touched by the child’s act of kindness that they decided to leave the doll there, in spite of receiving their Jesus figurine back.

Whatever Happened to Baby Jesus?


Hired elves working for a toy charity to benefit needy families were surprised when they discovered a porcelain Jesus figure placed inside their donation box. While they aren’t certain that the item was placed there maliciously, they thought the presence of Jesus inside their donation bin was odd. The charity has contacted local authorities in the event that someone files a report on the possibly stolen item.

Good as New


A replacement clay head for the baby Jesus on a statue of Jesus and Mary located outside of an Ontario church is causing some controversy among parishioners, who have expressed shock and even disgust over the temporary replacement according to the church’s priest Gérald Lajeunesse. Twice the statue has been wrecked by vandals, both times taking off the head of baby Jesus. Since the statue is made of stone, the replacement will cost the church thousands of dollars to replace. In an effort to find a temporary fix until artists can begin crafting the new stone head for Jesus, a local artist went to work crafting a replacement out of clay. Lajeunesse says that “It’s a first try. It’s a first go. And hopefully what is done at the end will please everyone …”