March 16 (UPI) -- A package that was initially thought to be suspicious at a New Jersey church turned out to be something surprising -- a baby Jesus statue stolen 90 years ago.
The Rev. Alex Santora of the Our Lady of Grace Church in Hoboken said staff were concerned Wednesday when a mysterious package showed up at the building without a return address, so he decided to contact police as a precaution.
"Some red flags went up because it didn't have a name -- just the church, no return address," Santora told WPIX-TV.
Officers from the Hoboken Police's Emergency Service Unit responded to the church and used a heat-detecting device to make sure the box did not contain any explosives.
Once the box was found to be clear of heat readings, an officer opened the box and revealed the contents -- a baby Jesus statue and a note explaining the item.
The note, which was dated in early January, read:
"To Whom it may concern,
My Mom told me that the Baby Jesus had been stolen from the church Nativity display at Our Lady of Grace when she was a young girl of about twelve years of age in the early 1930's. It came into her father's possession somehow, and I don't know why he didn't return it. Instead, he gave it to my Mother after she was married, and she too kept it until her passing when it came to me. Knowing the story, I felt it should be returned to the rightful owner, and you will find it enclosed."
Santora applauded the sender's drive to do the right thing.
"I think it's admirable to know that even after all these decades someone knows you can do the right thing just return it," Santora said. "I think its an affirmation that people always have to try to do the right thing and, in this case, someone did."