BOSTON (Christian Examiner) -- A baby Jesus statue was stolen from Sacred Hearts Roman Catholic Church and replaced with a pig's head, according to reports. The desecration of the Nativity scene with a severed head was reported by the parish priest on Christmas morning.
The baby Jesus statue was replaced with a severed pig's head which was most likely "freshly decapitated," police told reporters at a press conference Friday. It most likely did not come from a butcher shop, and now Haverhill investigators are trying to find out if the "animal was tortured as part of this act."
This has "all the elements of a hate crime," Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini told the Associated Press.
The stolen statue was imported from Italy and cost about $3,000, WCVB reported. Fortunately, a local woman was able to restore the Nativity scene using a baby Jesus statue that she had at her home.
"I can't change the world, but I can change my city," Brenda Burns told CBS news. "I'm bringing this, and I'm asking everybody to do the same. Make a statement. You don't have to come here and hold a sign to be destructive. Just come to let everybody who drives by know. Not here. Not my city."
Another baby Jesus statue was stolen from nearby Greenfield Christmas Eve, though it wasn't replaced with anything. A pig head was placed at another church in Haverhill around the holidays several years ago as well, though that crime was never solved. Police do not know if any of the acts of vandalism are related.