VALENCIA (CBSLA.com) — Officials are asking for the public’s help following the apparent theft of a baby Jesus figurine from a Nativity display in Valencia.
Staffers with Westfield Valencia Town Center reported the figurine missing on Monday, according to reports.
Officials are reviewing security camera footage for clues and asking residents in the Santa Clarita Valley to come forward with any information they may have.
“I’m just shocked, I mean, who would do that,” shopper Diana Gomez said. “I don’t understand the reason for it.”
This isn’t the first time thieves have sought to steal the baby Jesus from his manger.
Last year, dozens of incidents of Christmas vandalism were reported in Southern California and nationwide, according to Catholic League president Bill Donahue.
Two Nativity scenes in Huntington Beach were vandalized with swastikas and the words “HAIL (sp) Hitler” scrawled on a baby Jesus doll.
Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita donates the Nativity scene to the Westfield Town Center mall in Valencia every year.
“Kind of a ‘here we go again’, I mean, this happened once before, and happily was returned a couple of weeks later, before Christmas,” Grace Baptist Church Outreach Pastor Mike Gaston said. “So we’re counting on the same thing happening again.”
According to Donahue, the worst incident in 2012 occurred in Huntington, West Virginia, where a hand-painted baby Jesus figurine was stolen and defaced with sexual obscenities, anarchy symbols, anti-religious statements, the number 666, and an upside-down cross. Horns were also drawn on the head, and offensive markings were inscribed on the face, chest and groin.
Anyone with information on the Westfield theft is asked to contact Stacie House at (661)254-0213 or by email at email@example.com .