Members of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church at 3rd and Reed in South Philadelphia say the baby Jesus was placed in the nativity after the Christmas vigil Mass on Christmas Eve night for the fourth time in four years. Someone stole the baby Jesus figure valued at between $700 and $800.
"They are very upset about it at this point because, like I said, it's happened 4 years in a row and we don't consider it a prank and we just feel that the conscious of the person who does this should be bothered and should bring it back you know it means a lot to the parish."
This comes in the wake of a similar incident targeting the city of Philadelphia's official nativity. The city had to place a 24-hour guard protecting the nativity from vandals being paid for by philanthropist Kal Rudman.
Parishioners here have now temporarily placed a baby doll donated by a child.
Police investigating the case at the Sacred Heart Church believe the stolen Jesus may be nothing more than a kid's prank. But parishioners here are very upset about it.
"When the baby gets put in there it's a big deal around here you know what I mean and it's just a shame because we shouldn't have to lock it up like Fort Knox it should be accessible to people and that's what it's here for, for people to enjoy not to come and desecrate."