FREDRICKSBURG, VA (WWBT) – It is a nightmare before Christmas in Fredericksburg. A real Grinch is on the loose. He didn't steal Christmas, but he did swipe the baby Jesus from a nativity scene.
Fredericksburg police said overnight Monday thieves kidnapped the figure from a display at the Central Park shopping center and they're now hoping someone can help them find Jesus.
If there's a question of who's been naughty and who's been nice, the City of Fredericksburg knows the answer for some thieves. There's clearly an important piece missing from a nativity scene at the center.
"I think that's really sad," one shopper said.
It definitely wasn't a silent night at the Central Park shopping center. Early Wednesday morning a maintenance worker on his daily checks noticed tire tracks and a hole in the ground where baby Jesus and his manger used to sit.
"It's not right to steal to begin with but when you start taking religious pieces it's really wrong," said shopper Susan Benoit.
The figure is worth upwards of $350, which makes what may have been a prank, a felony.
This was no easy feat. The figure was filled with 80lbs of concrete. The management company did that to prevent thieves from hitting once again.
Back in 2005, the very same figure disappeared from the very same spot but was eventually returned. Since surveillance cameras didn't capture this incident, police are hoping a witness, possibly at the 24-hour gas station across the street, can help.
"Somebody saw something even if they didn't understand at the time what they were seeing or perhaps they just have some information they've heard from someone else," explained Fredericksburg Police Spokesperson Natatia Bledsoe.
The center management company would have to replace the entire nativity set if the figure is not returned. Shoppers are now wondering if they'll have "a blue Christmas" without baby Jesus.
"It hurts people who are Christian and believe that Jesus is important," one shopper told NBC12.
Police are hoping for another Christmas miracle with the return of baby Jesus. If you know anything that can help call 540-373-3122.