Crime - Sacto 911

Baby Jesus swiped from manger in Elk Grove. Homeowner says thieves have gone too far.

An Elk Grove stable is missing its baby Jesus.
An Elk Grove stable is missing its baby Jesus. Courtesy of John Jennings

John Jennings is fed up.

The Elk Grove resident put away the family’s inflatable Christmas decorations last month after someone stole one of two lighted reindeer from the yard, but early Sunday morning, thieves went too far – swiping the baby Jesus from a nativity scene.

Jennings shared his exasperation with neighbors on the Nextdoor website along with a photo of the 3-feet-tall Mary and Joseph figurines looking lovingly down to the spot on the ground where Jesus and the manger had been.

“I’m at the point where I’m going to beat the breaks off someone,” he posted on Nextdoor. “I work hard for what I have, which may not seem like much to others. I decorate my house for Halloween and Christmas. But this will be my last year.”

Every Christmas season the Jenningses fill their yard with inflatable Christmas characters, lighted deer and the Nativity scene. The phrase “Merry Christmas” is projected across the house as holiday music fills the air.

“It makes the neighborhood more like a community,” he said of the effort.

Nonetheless, Jennings said he plans to take them down tonight for the last time. He plans to put up only Christmas lights next year.

“It kind of seems like kids,” Jennings said of the thefts. “It seems random. I would understand more if the whole thing were stolen, if they wanted to use it for themselves. The kids nowadays, they don’t have any respect for property.”

Christmas isn’t the only time the family has had problems. Jennings said they have had their car vandalized and tires slashed. The most serious incident was when they had all 16 lug nuts on their tires loosened, he said.

Jennings filed a police report for that incident but not for the others.

“I figured, what could they do?” he said.

Elk Grove Police Department spokesman Christopher Trim said no crime is too small to be reported. “We want all calls. Even if someone takes a pink flamingo from a yard – call,” he said. “We are a full-service agency and if you call us, you will get an officer to take a report.”

Property crime in Elk Grove has decreased by 20 percent this year, according to Trim. Reports of violent crimes are down 6 percent.

The Police Department uses the information from police reports to decide where extra patrols might be needed, Trim said.

“We want an accurate presentation of what is taking the place in our city,” he said. “It’s hard for us to know there is an issue unless it is reported.”

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert