KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AP) — Two baby Jesus figurines have once again been snatched from their Tennessee mangers.
One city's downtown Nativity scene has lost its baby Jesus for the second year in a row. After the figure's theft last year, the people responsible for the Nativity scene on Kingsport's Church Circle tethered the figure to the display.
But the Kingsport Times-News cites a Kingsport police report that says it nonetheless "appears someone was able to steal Jesus" Friday night or Saturday morning. The figure had an estimated value of $1,200 and had been on display for less than a week.
The Kingsport Jaycees organize the display. Their president, Bennett Little, says the thief has until noon of Christmas Eve to return the figure and avoid prosecution. A baby doll has taken the handcrafted figure's place in the manger.
News outlets report the Greeneville Parks and Recreation Department says its decades-old baby Jesus figurine has also been stolen. It says the figurine disappeared Sunday night during a free park event.
Director Butch Patterson says this isn't the first time the baby Jesus figurine has been stolen. He says it was stolen about seven years ago by a group of "youngsters" who later returned it.
He says the Nativity scene was donated by department families and employees 21 years ago and has been used each year since in a free Christmas light and display event. It's unclear if the display's manger remains empty as the search continues.