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Sarah Dallof reporting For years the city of Logan has been plagued by a crime spree right around the holidays. The target, of all things, is the baby Jesus figurine in a nativity scene on Main Street. Now, city leaders have a new plan they hope will prevent the annual prank this holiday season.
The nativity scene in front of the Logan Tabernacle has long had a rotating cast. "Things would come and go. The sheep were gone. Jesus was gone, he'd been stolen several times," explained Joe Archer, city forester.
Most years, baby Jesus returned, but eventually he disappeared for good and had to be replaced with a baby doll. "It's unacceptable. We won't tolerate it," Logan Police Sgt. Barry Parslow said.
Despite investigators' best efforts, the case remains unsolved. "We never did find out who was doing the stealing of the baby Jesus," mayor Randy Watts said.
After years of use and abuse, Joseph lost his arm at one point. City leaders decided it was time to retire the old manger scene. "They'd taken the nativity scene to the dump," Watts said.
"If I had a figurine that was supposed to look like me that looked as bad as what those guys did, I'd want to be taken to the dump, too," Archer said.
In its place now is a new nativity. Everyone, and their limbs, is present and accounted for for the first time in years.
So, to go along with the new nativity scene there's a new security system. A wire cable holds all the animals together, and the main figurines are bolted down. City leaders hope it keeps them here this holiday season. "They'd have to bring some cable cutters. They'd have to put some real effort now," Watts said.
The mayor and others admit the prank may have been funny at first but say the punch line has grown old. "I hope the citizens look at the nativity scene for what it represents," Watts said.
And he hopes this year baby Jesus will lay down his sweet head away in this manger and keep it there.
The previous nativity scene was purchased with the help of the city. The bill for the new one was paid through private donations, another reason officials hope pranksters will leave it alone.