BROOKVILLE, IN (FOX19) - People in Brookville, Indiana want to know what happened to a baby Jesus statue that was part of a church's nativity scene.
Leaders of the Brookville United Methodist Church believe someone stole the baby, which is the central part of the more than 20-year-old display that sits outside of the building every Christmas season.
"I can't believe this. This is unreal. This is surreal," Reverend Curtis Bond, the pastor of the church, said.
The infant in the manger suddenly disappeared several days ago.
"Everybody was like, really?" Melody Gault, a church member, said.
Soon after that, the pastor said someone returned to the nativity scene and knocked over the Joseph statue, cracking it.
"I'd like to think it was a prank," Bond said.
If it was a joke, the congregation didn't seem to find it funny. Members said they did chuckle at a "missing person" poster the pastor produced for the baby Jesus.
"It is a serious thing, but just take a moment and realize there are worse things in life than a baby Jesus in a manger scene gone," the pastor said.
Church leaders said they reported what happened to local authorities.
However, their focus is not on the crime. They said they just want the baby Jesus returned.
"There won't be any questions asked," Tracey Russell, a member of the church said. "Just bring baby Jesus back."
If the statue is not returned, the pastor said someone has offered to let the church use their baby Jesus for Christmas.
If you have any information, you're asked to call police.
This is not the first time nativity scenes in Franklin County have garnered attention. A manger scene on the courthouse lawn was at the center of controversy in 2015.