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Thieves Caught On Surveillance Video Stealing Baby Jesus From N.J. Church

SAYREVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- New surveillance video Monday night showed someone swiping a sacred figurine from a New Jersey church, and the faithful were pleading with the thief to return it.

As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, it was not the first time such a thing has happened.

"We know God sees everything that happens," said the Rev. Kenneth Murphy, of St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Catholic parish in Sayreville, New Jersey.

Surveillance cameras likewise see everything that happens, and in this case, video showed two suspects sneaking onto the lawn of the parish. The pair appears to reconsider the crime, but then, one suspect returns seconds later and snatches the Baby Jesus figurine right out of its manger.

"You'd expect somebody to respect a display on a religious theme, in front of a church," Murphy said.

Murphy said the Baby Jesus, valued at $100, was stolen around 8 p.m. this past Saturday. But more troublingly, he said, it was the third time in six years that it was stolen.

"Ultimately they'll have to face another judge," he said.

The Polish Christmas season begins on Christmas Eve and ends on Feb. 2, which is why the Nativity Scene remained out. The church was hoping to get Baby Jesus back before their holiday season ends.

Parishioners were shocked by the disrespect.

"It doesn't seem right," one man said. "I don't know why someone would do something like that," he said. "Prosecute them if they catch them."

"You have to be accountable for what you do – good bad or indifferent," Murphy said.

On Monday evening, a backup Baby Jesus was in the manger. And while Rev. Murphy hoped the suspect was caught, he hoped most of all that the person would go through a learning experience and would not do it again.

"If it raises the consciousness of the person who did it, and helps them grow then it will have accomplished a good life lesson," he said.

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