Three statues plundered from a nativity scene in Quincy Center sometime overnight Wednesday were discovered undamaged early Friday by a construction crew and were returned to the manger Friday afternoon, officials said.
“They found Jesus, Mary, and Joseph at the end of Furnace Avenue,” said Captain John Dougan, Quincy police spokesman. “They found all of them except for the lamb. That is still on the lam.”
Police said they believed the statues were dropped late Thursday night at the end of the one-way street, about 2 miles away from the Quincy Center display. The construction crew found them at 7 Friday morning.
Police said they have not identified a suspect, but they are looking for surveillance video from the area.
The nativity scene was paid for by donations from the city’s Roman Catholic parishes, city officials have said. It stands on public property and is set up by the city Parks Department each year around Thanksgiving.
The statues were brought to the Quincy police station and were transferred to the Parks Department for touch-ups.
“There is no substantial damage, but a few scratches that we will fix with some paint,” said Chris Walker, spokesman for Mayor Thomas P. Koch.
In 2004, a statue of the baby Jesus was stolen from the same site and later recovered around the Town River Marina. Last year the statue was stolen again and found in Mount Wollaston Cemetery, Dougan said.
Despite the three incidents, “we don’t want to do a plexiglass container — it restricts the view and access,” Walker said. “We view that as an option of very last resort.”
The two previous cases prompted the city to add some security, including bolting the statue of Jesus to a piece of plywood. Police are planning an increased level of surveillance at the creche once the statues are returned, Walker said.
No one was arrested in the previous cases.
Walker said the city was happy to have most of the statues returned and said he hoped the last one would be recovered soon.
“I’m sure people are relieved to some extent, but we are still holding out hope for our little lamb,” he said.