By Kelly Schlicht, FOX 11 News
Updated: Friday, December 14, 2012, 5:33 PM CST
Published: Friday, December 14, 2012, 2:01 PM CST
(Photo courtesy: WLUK)
MENOMINEE, Mich. – Christians around the world are getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But, the baby Jesus from a Nativity scene in Menominee, Michigan is missing.
People in Menominee say a very important baby has been missing for a week, and no one knows who took him.
“How sad at this time of the year, eleven days from Christmas,” said Lisa Fernstrum of Menominee, as she ate lunch with her family at the Serving Spoon Café.
At the Nativity scene in Great Lakes Memorial Marina Park, the cattle are lowing.
But Mary and Joseph stare at a blank pile of hay, instead of baby Jesus in the manger.
“I am pleading with the public if they do have any information that will assist us in the recovery of baby Jesus, it would be greatly appreciated,” said Menominee Police Chief Brett Botbyl.
The police chief says a passerby reported the statue stolen last Saturday. The posters have gone up around town, but there are no leads yet.
“There was a vulgarity-laden ransom letter in the manger and I must say it’s quite disturbing to me what was said with respect to baby Jesus,” said Botbyl, who declined to show FOX 11 News the letter.
Police say this isn’t the first time the baby Jesus figurine has been taken from the Nativity scene. It was stolen a few years ago and then replaced. Police aren’t sure if it’s a prank or a religious demonstration.
“Regardless of your religious beliefs or affiliation, the Nativity scene means a lot to many members of our community,” said Botbyl.
Folks having lunch across the street from the Nativity scene say it feels empty without the Christ child.
“I think it’s special. I know the women’s club sponsors it locally there and it’s been a part of this community for years and years. It’s the centerpiece of our Christmas decorations,” said Fernstrum.
The women’s club member in charge of the Nativity told FOX 11 News over the phone Friday that a baby doll will take Jesus’ place in the meantime.
But she says they hope he’s returned to the manger, no questions asked, by Christmas.
If you have any information about the missing statue, you’re asked to call the Menominee Police Department. Or, return the figurine to its place.