'Everybody likes a baby': Religious retailers report baby Jesus is most shoplifted item at Christmas time
Baby Jesus figurine - Shutterstock

Stealing the baby Jesus from outdoor manger scenes is a longtime holiday tradition -- and as common as caroling -- but now religious retailers say that the baby Jesus is also the most shoplifted item in their stores during the yuletide season.

With three outdoor baby Jesus-nappings reported in Washington, Idaho and Minnesota last week, the holiday season is one of both giving -- and taking.

"Anything you can fit in the palm of your hand is a lot easier," Gregory Musick of Kaufer’s Religious Supplies told KIRO.

“Everybody likes a baby,” he added. “They never steal the wise men or camels or anything like that.  It's always baby Jesus."

In fact, the stealing of the baby Jesus is such a common occurrence, that there is a Wikipedia page dedicated to it noting that churches and civic groups have had to turn to security cameras and GPS devices to recover the stolen Son of God.

According to Pastor James Carney of the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church, his church's baby Jesus was stolen from an outdoor manger display last year.

"It was as tacky, as cheap, as garage sale baby Jesus, mom and dad as you could get," Carney explained, adding that the church will forgo an outdoor nativity scene this year.

“There'll be no baby Jesus," he explained. "You'll have to come into the church and find the real Jesus, but in terms of the tacky, lit-up, plastic baby Jesus that we got from our garage sale?  There will not be any baby Jesus and we can't put out Mary and Joseph cause that just looks kind of sad.”

Asked if  stealing the baby Jesus puts culprits on the road to perdition, Carney said he hoped so.

"Well, I certainly would hope so.  I think, being candid, your mortal soul's in danger," Carney warned. "Is it a kidnapping?  Is it something they want, a devotional aid for their home?  If they do, then why don't they get the whole set? Why is it just Jesus?”

Watch the video below from KIRO: