BETHLEHEM, Pa., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- A woman who stole a baby Jesus statue in the appropriate town of Bethlehem, Pa., took it to a hospital and claimed it was "neglected," police said.
Bethlehem police said Jacqueline Ross, 49, took the baby Jesus statue from the "Christmas City" Nativity display at City Hall about 2 a.m. Dec. 4 and left a note that purported to be from "concerned citizens."
"Child has a broken right foot which has been neglected. Parents Joseph and Mary Christ got a warning," the note stated. "Apparently sheep has a baby toe nibbling fetish. Child has been taken to Anderson St. Luke's Hospital for evaluation repair."
Police said Ross dropped the statue off at St. Luke's Hospital Anderson Campus "Safe Space" drop-off, which is intended for mothers seeking to safely and anonymously give up their newborns.
Investigators released surveillance camera images from the theft and a Bethlehem Township police office told city police he recognized the woman as Ross.
Police said Ross confessed to the theft.
"I did it. I took the statue. It was a joke, a prank. I took it to the hospital and dropped it off. I left a note," court documents quoted by the Allentown Morning Call stated.
Ross was arrested on charges of institutional vandalism and theft. She was taken to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $30,000 bail.
Bethlehem police Chief Mark DiLuzio said damage to the statue's hand and foot was repaired and baby Jesus was returned to the manger.
"It was something that had to get done, and it had to get done in a hurry, because we are the Christmas City," DiLuzio said.
DiLuzio said the statue is worth more than $2,900, but court documents value it at $2,700.