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Stolen Baby Jesus statue found “in pieces”

The local priest who urgently appealed for the return of the statue, which was taken from a crib in Waterford, said he hopes it can be repaired.

Not the Baby Jesus statue in question, but not too dissimilar to the one stolen in Waterford city.
Not the Baby Jesus statue in question, but not too dissimilar to the one stolen in Waterford city.

THE LIFE-SIZE STATUE of Baby Jesus that was stolen from a Waterford crib yesterday has been found – in pieces.

Local priest, Fr Gerry Langford, told TheJournal.ie that the statue was found at the back of an area near the city quays, less than 1/4 mile from the church.

“It was in very bad condition, unfortunately,” said Fr Langford.

It was in at least six or seven pieces and was very badly damaged. I will try to collect it tomorrow and see if the FÁS workers might be able to do a repair job on it. It is incredible really for such a small incident but it caught the imagination of people really. It was unique for Waterford to have this outside crib and people really love it. We didn’t realise how people loved it until something happened to it.

The crib opened 10 days ago in the main thoroughfare of the city centre.

Fr Langford said he was not sure why the statue was taken.

It was probably a moment of madness, or maybe some guy after a few beers… I’m not too sure of the circumstances of its finding, whether it was left or dumped there. We’re not sure who found it yet. I wouldn’t have any ill feelings towards anybody – you don’t know what is going on in somebody’s life.

A spokesperson from the local garda station said that nobody was in custody over the theft but the gardaí are investigating the circumstances.

Gardaí are examining CCTV footage from the scene of the theft outside the Cathedral on Barronstrand Street in the city.

Earlier today, Fr Langford said it had been stolen on Sunday night or early Monday morning. ”It’s a life-size statue, quite heavy and made of plaster. It’s wrapped in plaster-type swaddling clothes and was made by local FÁS workers – as were all the statues, they’re all handmade,” Fr Langford told TheJournal.ie this afternoon.

The local priest said the statute of Baby Jesus was blessed and put in the crib on December 8 following a ceremony with local dignitaries involved. He said it had been an extremely popular attraction on the busy street.

- Additional reporting Aoife Barry

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Hugh O'Connell

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