Call it a moment of Santa intervention. When taking the trash to a nearby dumpster, a Coral Gables resident, who happens to be also a Miami-Dade Police officer, noticed a discarded Baby Jesus figurine among the pile of trash. Back home, his wife had been watching the local news about an act of vandalism reported to the Coral Gables Police Department that could have stolen more than just a sculpture in this season of hope and goodwill.
CGPD responded to the couple’s call and, after positive identification, found the stolen and much-talked-about Baby Jesus belonging to a Nativity Scene that was vandalized with blue and yellow paint on Dec. 3.
The popular exhibit is at the corner of the imposing 121 Alhambra Plaza building owned by real estate magnate Allen Morris. The display has been part of the Downtown Coral Gables holiday scenery for more than a decade, evoking the hearts and passion of many local admirers.
When the incident of vandalism and theft originally happened, CGPD immediately got on the case to solve and talk about it to the press so that the community could help identity the offenders and restore the object and the spirit of the holidays. The offenders are still at large, and CGPD welcomes any crime tips at 305-442-1600.
“Public awareness about this case helped us recover the missing Baby Jesus,” said Interim Police Chief Edward Hudak, who is a proponent of proactive community outreach to alert residents and prevent crimes in the city.
A few days later after the crime was committed, thanks to the involvement of informed residents and just in time for the height of the holiday season, a grateful owner received his recovered symbol of hope from the hands of police.