UPDATE: STATUE FOUND!

Update: The Sacred Heart of Jesus statue stolen from outside the Saints Peter and Paul Rectory has been found. A man spotted the statue in a trash can outside his Brooklyn apartment and gave it to his mother.  After seeing media reports, the family realized where the statue belonged and contacted the rectory to return it. The statue is being restored at D’Ambrosio Ecclesiastical Art Studios, Inc.

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Jesus Statue Stolen From Church Found

Jesus statue stolen from church found in garbage can
New York Post, May 6, 2016

They found Jesus!

A statue of Christ that was stolen from a Brooklyn church last week was recovered Thursday night by a man who found it in a trash can — and then gave it to his mother as a gift.

“I was ecstatic when I got the call,” said Waleska Soto, parish secretary at St. Peter and Paul Church on Second Street in Williamsburg.

Waleska SotoPhoto: Gabriella Bass

“It was found a few blocks away by a man named Gabriel,” she told The Post. “He happened to come down from his building to smoke a cigarette and he saw something white, sticking out of the garbage can. It caught his eye, and him not knowing any better, he took it home and gave it to his mother. He said he didn’t want to leave it in the garbage. His mom even had a spot set up for it.”

Soto said that it wasn’t until Gabriel’s mother saw the news that they knew what had happened.

“When they saw where it came from, he contacted the church and I received a phone call, at about 9:30 pm,” she said. “My mother had spoken with him and informed me who he was and how he found it outside his building, which is on South 3rd Street, between Bedford and Berry.”

When Soto’s mother talked to Gabriel, he explained that he would have never kept the statue for himself if he would’ve known how it was stolen by three thieves last Saturday.

“He said, ‘We gave it a home, I just didn’t think I had to give it back so fast,’” Soto recalled. “But he said he was happy to be able to contribute to it coming back home to the church.”

The “Sacred Heart” Jesus statue is now on its way to get restored after suffering a chip on the side of Christ’s face.
Surveillance images show the crooks taking the statue off the pedestal at Saints Peter and Paul Epiphany Parish.

“We believe it happened as it landed in the garbage can,” Soto said. “They threw it in upside down. But other than that, it’s a miracle that it was just that little chip. It could of had more damage. The statue is over a hundred years old.”

Soto said that even though they got the effigy back, cops will continue to try and find the culprits.

Surveillance footage from the church shows a man and two women grinning and laughing as they run up to the statue and grab it before darting off.

“In a moment of ignorance, they might not have been thinking the damage they were doing, and even though its back home, they should take this all in consideration and think about their actions,” Soto said. “Every action has consequence. I hope this was a life lesson for them. But to come in this morning and be able to say [the statue] came home, that alone is a real happy ending to what started off as a really sad story.”

Jesus Statue Stolen From Brooklyn Church

Jesus Statue Stolen From Brooklyn Church
New York Post, May 5, 2016

They found Jesus — and ran off with him!

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 10.39.26 AMA group of people thought it would be funny to steal a statue of Christ from the front a Catholic church in Williamsburg last week.

Surveillance footage from Saints Peter and Paul Epiphany Parish on South 3rd Street shows a man and two women smiling and laughing as they approach the “Sacred Heart” statue and snatch it up before making their getaway.

“It was a lack of respect,” said Sister Bendita Diez, a 29-year-old nun who has been working with the congregation for three years.Surveillance images show the crooks taking the statue off the pedestal at Saints Peter and Paul Epiphany Parish.

“It happened last Saturday, about 2am in the morning,” she told The Post. “They were prepared, they had a black bag, they knew what they were doing. They were laughing.”

Waleska SotoPhoto: Gabriella Bass

While Diez said the church’s secretary, Waleska Soto, didn’t notice the statue was gone until last Saturday, investigators believe it was likely stolen sometime between Apr. 22 and May 3.

Cops are using the church’s surveillance footage to help catch those responsible. Sources said the statue was worth approximately $500. It shows Jesus holding a heart in his hands and is supposed to represent his divine love for humanity.

Diez and residents who live near the church both recalled how this was the second time in three years that a sculpture of Jesus was swiped from the front of the house of worship.

They said the statue that was most recently stolen was actually a replacement, donated by one of the parishioners. It had been in their family for a century before they gave it to the church.

“It’s not only a statue, a statue is material things, but it is the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our God who came to save us. That is sacred for us,” Diez said. “We never thought it was going to happen again in this neighborhood. We forgive the disrespect, but we want it back.”

Saints Peter and Paul Epiphany ParishPhoto: Gabriella Bass

Soto said she wouldn’t hold a grudge either — but admitted that it really hurt to see the thieves on surveillance tape reveling in the theft of such a revered object.

“It’s sad. They’re running off laughing,” she said. “It’s not the monetary value, it’s the sentimental value, and finding out now that the family had it for 100 years my heart is even heavier. I hope they see the news and I hope they return it, even anonymously. I hope we wake up tomorrow and it’s in front of the door. Let’s just hope that all this doesn’t have to go any further.”

If the crooks don’t return Christ, Diez said the church plans to replace the statue with another “Sacred Heart” depiction of Jesus — one that will likely be locked in a glass case next time.

Statue Of Jesus Donated By N.J. Couple Stolen

Statue of Jesus donated by N.J. couple stolen from NYC church [VIDEO]
Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 10.37.32 AM
A statue of Jesus Christ donated by a New Jersey couple was stolen from a Brooklyn church over the weekend.

Officials from Saints Peter and Paul Church released security footage Thursday hoping someone could recognize the thieves.

The video shows a group of people taking the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” Saturday from the Williamsburg church, located at 82 S. 2nd Street in Brooklyn. The statue sat on a pedestal outside the church.

The 4-foot figurine was donated by an Oak Ridge couple, Kathleen and George Damerel, in 2012 to replaced a similar statue that was reportedly stolen just a month before Christmas that year, according to CBS.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the church.

3 Thieves Steal Brooklyn Church’s Statue of Jesus

3 Thieves Steal Brooklyn Church’s Statue of Jesus
NY Times, May 5, 2016

The police were searching on Thursday for three laughing thieves who made off with a statue of Jesus from a Roman Catholic church over the weekend, clergy and police officials said.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 10.28.37 AM
The Diocese of Brooklyn announced the theft on Thursday, a holy day set aside to commemorate Christ’s ascension into heaven. The SS. Peter and Paul Church is asking for the return of the statue, said Mother Maria Bendita, the mother superior of the Williamsburg parish to which the church belongs.

The three-foot-tall statue, which depicts Jesus holding a heart, was a century-old family heirloom donated to the church in 2012 after a previous version was stolen, the donors and church officials said. It sat staked on a pedestal in front of the church rectory until early Saturday morning, when three thieves grabbed it, church and police officials said.

“They knew what they were doing,” Mother Bendita said, adding, “It’s a pattern of disrespect that we are seeing for our faith.”

Surveillance video shows the thieves approaching the figure of Jesus around 2:15 a.m. in front of the church rectory on South Third Street. In the video, a young woman wearing ballet-style flats lifts the statue off its base and tucks it under her right arm, laughing as she and her companions run away.

The police said that the three thieves had not been identified or apprehended but that they probably lived nearby.

Waleska Soto, 43, the church secretary, said she noticed the statue was missing when she showed up for work on Tuesday. But parish officials thought a member or maintenance worker might have taken it for cleaning until they saw the video on Wednesday and reported the theft to the police, she said.

“I’m upset,” said Ms. Soto, who grew up in the church and was married there. “It’s something sacred. It belonged to the rectory. It belonged to the community.”

George Damerel donated the statue with his wife, Kathleen, days before Christmas in 2012, about two weeks after its predecessor was stolen. It had been in his wife’s family for over 100 years, and her maternal grandmother had kept the statue on top of an altar in her bedroom, where she prayed before it in the morning and at night, the couple said.

“No kidding,” Mr. Damerel said in a telephone interview from his home in New Jersey, after being told of the theft. “Isn’t that awful. I can’t believe it. That’s amazing. I don’t know what to say.”

The church’s original statue, a ceramic version that had stood outside the rectory for more than a decade, was pilfered by an unknown man in December 2012, according to the church and the police. It was never found, and the thief was never apprehended, the police said.