Baby Jesus returned to Hanover holiday display

Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 10:30 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 19, 2022 at 6:26 AM EST
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HANOVER, Va. (WWBT) - The original baby Jesus stolen from a popular nativity scene off Atlee Station Road has been returned!

People driving in Hanover County may have noticed a sign one neighbor posted after part of their holiday display was stolen earlier this month.

Robert Cooper, who has been putting up a nativity display for the last seven years, created the “Please Return Baby Jesus” sign after his baby Jesus was stolen.

“I hate the fact that we have to get a sign like this made. I’d rather have it for something else, but it is what it is,” Cooper said.

Cooper said he started his display after his mom asked him to do it back in 2015.

He said the idea is to give people what he feels the true meaning of Christmas is about.

“Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, not Black Friday and Amazon Prime,” Cooper said.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time Cooper’s baby Jesus has been stolen off his property. He said for the last three years someone has been doing it and sometimes it never comes back.

“Yeah, people want to keep stealing our baby Jesus,” Cooper said. “I don’t want to tie Jesus down or have a trap for him, but it’s a shame that people can’t seem to leave our baby Jesus alone for the past couple of years.”

He said when the figure was taken last year, three months later someone dropped off a new baby Jesus on his backdoor step.

He said this year again the figure was taken at the start of December.

“Maybe there’s a cause that we don’t know and maybe later we’ll find out,” Cooper said. “I don’t know. It is getting a little old, I’ll be honest with you.”

Cooper does not have much protection on his display with the hope that no one would mess with his property.

“I have a piece of wire, picture hanging wire, running up through the straw and had it wrapped around the body of the baby just so it might deter somebody,” Cooper said. “I guess not.”

Last week, Robert said he was surprised to see a baby back in the manger, but unfortunately, it was not the original taken.

Instead, this one was dropped off by a neighbor who left a note.

“Thank you for all that you do to remind us of the real meaning of Christmas. I’m sorry someone needed your baby but hope you will adopt this newborn. Merry Christmas from your neighbor,” Cooper read in the note. “So there is some good in the world, ain’t it.”

Cooper says baby Jesus was returned on Sunday, bringing some relief to the whole neighborhood.