Baby Jesus figurine back

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The baby Jesus figurine, which was taken Tuesday, has been returned to the nativity crèche on the Naugatuck Green. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — The baby Jesus figurine is back in the nativity crèche on the town Green days after vandals swiped it and ran.

On Tuesday, a witness called police to report that juveniles grabbed the figurine at about 6:30 p.m. and ran away from the Green with it. On Friday morning, the statue was back resting comfortably.

Messages left for Naugatuck police spokesman Lt. Bryan Cammarata and Public Works Superintendent Robert Roland seeking information on the return of the statue weren’t returned as of this post.

Tuesday’s theft wasn’t the first time that someone stole a baby Jesus figurine from the Green.

In 2007, Naugatuck made state and regional news when someone stole three separate baby Jesus porcelain statues from St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, which places a crèche on the Green. That year, a menorah celebrating the Jewish holiday Hanukkah was also demolished.

In 2005 and in 2006, pranksters stole the figurine from the crèche owned by the borough in the center of the Green. In 2005, the figurine was never located. But the following year, days after it was stolen, someone dropped off the statue, unharmed, at the Parks Department headquarters on Rubber Avenue. Attached to it was a handwritten apology note.

The borough’s crèche on the Green is encased in Plexiglass, a result of the past vandalism. The vandals ripped a portion of the Plexiglass loose from the crèche on Tuesday to grab the figurine.