Baby Jesus kidnapped in Port St. Lucie
If a suspect is found, hate crime charges could be filed
By SARAH MYRICK
December 10, 2005
PORT ST. LUCIE — Inside the troubled Cascades, the clubhouse Nativity scene has become a crime scene.
Someone stole the baby Jesus.
The thief also rearranged the figurines to look like one of the Three Wise Men was worshipping a sheep.
Port St. Lucie police are investigating but have no suspects, police spokesman Rob Vega said.
The theft is the latest holiday controversy to hit the Cascades community, which has gone through months of turmoil over whether a Nativity scene should be permitted in the clubhouse. It finally was put up Monday night.
The porcelain figurine of the baby Jesus, about 3 inches tall, most likely was stolen Thursday between noon and 10 p.m. when the clubhouse was open to all residents, Vega said. The clubhouse has no surveillance equipment, Vega added.
Gregory Siracusa, a one-year resident of the Cascades, reported the theft to police Friday after neighbor Elsa Thater told him about the incident.
"It's unbelievably ugly," Siracusa said. "It was a hate crime. That's about the only way I can say it."
If a suspect is found, hate crime charges could be filed, Vega said. The Nativity controversy began months ago when the homeowners board refused to allow the display next to a lighted menorah and Christmas tree in the clubhouse. The board reversed itself Monday night.