Stolen Jesus statue returned to Phoenix church

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
The statue was returned to the church on Nov. 3. By Jennifer Thomas The statue was returned to the church on Nov. 3. By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Police have recovered a statue that was stolen from a Phoenix church last month.

An anonymous tip led police to the bronze statue of Jesus Christ, which was stolen from St. Theresa Parish near 52nd Street and Thomas Road.

Members of the Phoenix Police Department returned the undamaged statue to the Catholic parish Thursday morning.

"The community is responsible for the safe recovery of this important religious item," Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.

Police did not release information about where the statue was recovered.

The 5-foot tall statue was removed from an area outside of the security gates between Oct. 21 and 22.

"It was a statue of a welcoming Christ and the whole idea, especially at the entry to our campus, was to convey the fact that all people are welcome here at Saint Theresa and that we're open to all," the Rev. Charles Kieffer said.

A surveillance camera captured someone loading the statue apparently wrapped in a tarp into the back of a pickup truck driven by another individual.

Police are still looking for the suspects. One is described as a white or Hispanic male, 5 feet 10 inches tall and 160 to 170 pounds wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, tan pants and tennis shoes.

There is no information about the driver.

The suspect vehicle is described as a white 2009-2011 Ford F150 four-door crew cab with a short bed and chrome alloy wheels.