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.
“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.”