Three statues plundered from a nativity scene in Quincy Center sometime overnight Wednesday were discovered undamaged early today by a construction crew, and officials said they would returned to the manger sometime over the weekend.
“They found Jesus, Mary, and Joseph at the end of Furnace Avenue,” said Captain John Dougan, Quincy police spokesman. “They found all of them except for the lamb. That is still on the lam.”
Police said they believed the statues were dropped late Thursday night at the end of the one-way street, about two miles away from the Quincy Center display. The construction crew found them at 7 a.m. today.
Police said they have not identified a suspect, but they are looking for surveillance video from the area.
The nativity scene was paid for by donations from the city’s Roman Catholic parishes, city officials have said. It stands on public property and is set up by the city Parks Department every year around Thanksgiving.
The statues were brought to the Quincy police station this morning, and will be transferred to the Parks Department sometime today for touchups.
“There is no substantial damage, but a few scratches that we will fix with some paint,” said Chris Walker, spokesman for Quincy Mayor Thomas P. Koch.
In 2004, a statue of the baby Jesus was stolen from the same site and later recovered around the Town River Marina. Last year the statue was stolen again and found in Mount Wollaston Cemetery, Dougan said.
Despite the three incidents, “we don’t want to do a plexiglass container, it restricts the view and access,” Walker said. “We view that as an option of very last resort.”
The two previous cases prompted the city to add some security, including bolting the statue of Jesus to a piece of plywood. Police are planning an increased level of surveillance at the creche once the statues are returned, Walker said.
Nobody was arrested in the previous cases, but officials said they suspected the thefts were committed by young people.
Walker said the city was happy to have most of the statues returned, and hoped the last statue would be recovered soon.
“I’m sure people are relieved to some extent, but we are still holding out hope for our little lamb,” he said. Jasper Craven can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jasper_Craven