‘There is no room at the inn,” reads the marquee at the First Congregational Church in Salida. “Please return the stable.”
Pastor Kevin Roach says the stable for the church’s nativity scene was stolen overnight Monday.
Only pieces of straw remained on the lawn in front of the church on Broadway Avenue on Thursday. Roach said more than one person had to be involved in the theft because it took him and five of his parishioners to lug the handcrafted structure out of storage on Sunday.
He said the stable was about 6 feet tall, 7 feet long and 3 feet deep. It was made of barn siding or pallet wood and had a shake shingle roof.
Roach said he hopes whoever took the stable will get the good conscience to return it. He didn’t file a police report because he says he doesn’t have a good picture of the stable.
No other portions of the nativity were stolen because they hadn’t yet been put on display.
Roach questions why anyone would steal from a place of worship, speculating that the thief might use the wood to build something else or for firewood.
A local resident is offering a $100 reward for the structure’s return.
“I think ... it is just a sign of the times,” Roach said. “It seems there are so many people that feel that it’s all about them and they have a right to anything and everything and have no sense of moral or ethics.”