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Gretyl Macalaster photos/The manger scene in front of St. Mary's Academy in Dover remained void of a baby Jesus on Christmas day after the figure was stolen sometime on Dec. 15. Staff and students were hoping the baby Jesus would be returned by Christmas morning. (GRETYL MACALASTER/Union Leader Correspondent)

Stolen baby Jesus not returned to manger

DOVER - Despite the best hopes and prayers of students and staff at St. Mary's Academy, a stolen baby Jesus figure was not returned to its manger scene by Christmas morning.

As the day passed, the cradle remained vacant in between statues of Mary and Joseph that have been placed outside of the Catholic elementary school for as long as any of the staff can remember.

Every year, the scene is erected outside the school on Central Avenue just after Thanksgiving and in time for the annual holiday parade. School staff said none of the statues have ever been stolen before.

A maintenance man at the school noticed the baby Jesus was missing on Saturday, Dec. 15 as he was driving by. Half of the lights in the manger scene were out, and upon further inspection, he discovered the theft.

It was reported to police, but staff remained hopeful that someone would return the baby Jesus in time for Christmas morning. Those hopes and prayers were not answered.

At least one alumni offered to pay for the replacement of the baby Jesus figure after hearing news of the theft last week.

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Gretyl Macalaster may be reached at

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