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Jesus stolen from Fayetteville church nativity scene

Statues of baby Jesus and a donkey were stolen from a nativity scene at a Fayetteville church over the weekend, police said.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Statues of baby Jesus and a donkey were stolen from a nativity scene at a Fayetteville church over the weekend, police said.

The Cedar Creek Baptist Church dedicated the nativity scene to longtime member Evelyn Beal, who pushed for years for the church to erect an annual Christmas manger before her death in 2008.

"It made me mad," Beal's daughter, Tammy Clowes, said Monday. "To have someone take something that we put out in her memory is just heartbreaking."

The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office gets reports of stolen holiday decorations every December, spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said. The theft remains under investigation, she said, adding that the thieves likely live nearby.

The crime doesn't sit well with Cedar Creek Baptist Church members.

"This is something that is very special this time of the year," church pastor John Pezerett said. "Our door is open if (the thieves) just want to bring it back or just wanted to talk."

Clowes begged the thieves to return the statues.

"Just bring it back, no questions asked. Just put it back where you got it," she said. "Mama meant so much for us. She'd do anything for anyone."

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 Credits

Kevin Holmes, Reporter
Tom Normanly, Photographer
Matthew Burns, Web Editor

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