PITTSFIELD — The case of the missing baby Jesus in Pittsfield was solved Wednesday morning. The statue, stolen from the creche at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Pittsfield during Mass on the Saturday after Christmas, was discovered in a driveway on Main Street.
Douglas Cummings, Maine Central Institute head of school, discovered the statue last weekend and thought students were playing a prank. He took the statue into his home and waited to see who would come forward. It wasn’t until he read a story in Wednesday’s Bangor Daily News about the theft of the Jesus figure from the church that he called police.
Pittsfield Police Chief Steve Emery said the statue was returned unharmed to Father James Martel.
The priest said Wednesday that he had been notified of the discovery of the statue before 8 a.m. “They read the article and they called me. I’m absolutely delighted and thankful,” said Martel.
Martel said his parishioners were devastated when they realized the statue was missing as they left an evening Mass Dec. 26. He originally hoped that the rain that fell Tuesday would melt snowbanks and possibly the statue would be found unharmed.
Police have determined that a woman who had approached Martel the day after Christmas looking for money is likely a con artist. Martel had reported that a well-dressed woman had come to St. Agnes and asked for cash. The priest refused her request, and the woman threatened him.
Priests at churches in Bar Harbor and Old Town called Martel on Wednesday after reading the report and said that a similar-looking woman had been to their churches looking for cash.
Sgt. Timothy Roussin said a teletype bulletin had been issued warning other police departments about the incident, which he called “a scam.”