Baby Jesus stolen from Nativity scene

Published 9:10 am Tuesday, December 20, 2011


COAL GROVE — Coal Grove Mayor Larry McDaniel and his wife, Vickie, had just finished checking the lights for the elaborate Christmas display at Paul Porter Park Saturday evening, when they got a phone call, they didn’t want to hear.

“We hadn’t been home a half-hour and some people had been in the park and told us Baby Jesus wasn’t there,” Vickie McDaniel said.

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The couple got back in their car and headed for the park.

“To look up there and see Baby Jesus gone, it broke my heart,” she said. “People don’t know the work that goes into that.”

For five weeks volunteers put together the annual display of lights that draws hundreds each night.

“When cars go through there, it is bumper to bumper,” McDaniel said.

The Nativity scene is an expensive vintage display that the village has used for 12 years. About 10 years ago the infant was taken and replacing the statue cost $349.

The mayor had been at the park on Thursday to work on the breaker box and the statue was there.

“It was stolen Friday evening,” she said. “I’d just hate to be in that person’s shoes on Judgment Day. Everybody has called to say that my favorite is the Nativity scene at the stage. I don’t know how many phone calls Larry has gotten. The stage is breath-taking.”

When the couple discovered the theft, they walked around the area to see if the statue had been tossed into the weeds.

“It wasn’t there,” she said.

Now she is hoping that someone with information on where the statue is will contact the village hall.

“If there is any clue,” she said. “I hate to judge anybody.”