What may seem like a harmless prank is no laughing matter for police investigators. A nativity scene stolen from the front yard of a Madison home was recovered from a Bob Jones High School classroom Monday morning.
Tamra Koger, a resident of the Clift’s Cove subdivision in Madison, reported the theft to police after the nativity scene was stolen early Saturday morning.
She said her family displays the set every year in the front yard of her home.
Koger told WHNT that a neighbor sent a text in the wee hours of the morning Saturday saying someone was outside her home loading her nativity set into a pickup truck.
“So we jumped out of bed half asleep,” Koger explained, “and ran outside and sure enough every single piece was gone. We thought someone one day might steal baby Jesus and take pictures on vacation with it or something, you know how people are, but we never thought someone would take every piece to the nativity set.”
The set, valued at more than $2,000, was discovered in Robin Dauma’s classroom at Bob Jones. Dauma teaches English at the school.
Police officials said investigators are reviewing video footage to see who stole the nativity scene. and how it was placed in the classroom.
Madison Police Captain John Stringer said detectives are working with the school’s resource officer to track down any suspects.
“This may have been a prank, but it is still theft,” Stringer said.
Koger said she is not going to file charges once the offender is caught since the nativity scene was not damaged. It remains uncertain if there will be any charges associated with breaking into the school.
It has been reported that school administrators do not want to seek disciplinary actions against anyone involved. However, some parents are now questioning whether this incident exposes problems in the school’s security. The pranksters gained easy access to the building, and the classroom was supposed to have been locked.
Dennis James, Madison school district’s safety coordinator, said the school was open Saturday for college testing, which may have allowed someone access inside the building.
“As always, when we have a security issue we’ll go back through our procedures with our staff and make improvements where needed,” James said.
Using this incident as an opportunity to remind residents about holiday safety, Stringer said this is a typical time to see an increase in thefts, and holiday decorations are not immune to the sticky hands of thieves.
“We increase our patrols this time of year partially to help discourage anyone from trying to steal or damage holiday decorations,” Stringer said.