San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Christ Child Stolen from National Theater

THE baby Jesus statue from a nativity scene that traditionally decorates the National Theater gardens in San José in December was stolen last week, according to William Monge, chief of theater restoration.

Monge told journalists that baby Jesus disappeared on the afternoon of Dec. 13 because of carelessness by security guards. Theater officials filed a complaint on Wednesday, although no suspects have been identified yet, according to Monge.

The 80-year-old statue is carved in wood, and authorities fear it might be sold to collectors of religious antiques because similar thefts have occurred in churches across the country in the past.

We are worried about the situation, but have not ruled out the possibility of recovering baby Jesus, Jorge Rojas, director of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ), told the daily La Nación.

Although the statue s original value is approximately $800, this could increase greatly because of its antiquity, sources said.

Monge explained that no reward has been offered because theater officials trust that remorse and a bad conscience will drive the thief to return it.


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