The co-owners of a religious store in Monroe pleaded last week for the return of their Jesus statue after it was stolen Tuesday night. Now their call has been answered. Jesus is apparently back -- and with a makeover.
Angels & Company co-owner Linda Schirillo wrote to NBC Connecticut on Sunday to say that on "today of all days," All Saints' Day, the stolen statue "was not only returned to his rightful place, but he was freshly painted."
The 5-foot Jesus statue was stolen from the Angels & Company religious store on Main Street. Police said the $600 statue was taken between 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday and 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The statue was visible from Route 25 and people love it, Midge Saglimbene, store co-owner, previously said.
Saglimbene said they notified police, not knowing if it was a prank.
“I was in shock. How do you steal Jesus?,” she said. “I just want my statue. I want Jesus back."
Days later, on Sunday, store volunteer Debbie Dugas was driving by the store and saw the statue back in its place near the front entrance.
"I drove down 25 and I looked over and he was there! And so I quickly turned around and pulled into the parking lot, came over, checking it very excited,” Dugas said.
She called Saglimbene to let her know the Jesus statue was back, according to Schirillo. The customer took a photograph and sent it to the store owners.
The Jesus statue was refurbished with vibrant red, white and brown paint colors. His robe and heart were pained with a red color in comparison to the more faded hues of the original statue stolen and the hair is touched up with a darker brown paint, as shown in photos of the stature before and after the theft. A fresh coat of white paint was also added to his clothing.
“Whoever did it, refurbished it, painted it, did a beautiful job because the other one we had.... was very pale and there was chips out of him,” Saglimbene said.
The owners are convinced the statue is the same one because the original had a mark on the head that was still there on the refurbished one.
Saglimbene said she had been praying for the statues return all week.
While she doesn’t know who brought the statue back – she has a message for that person.
“I love you. I don’t know who you are but you did a beautiful job, but I would love for you to come to the store and let me give you a hug,” Saglimbene said.
“However this happened and whoever did it, thank you very, very much. It is a blessing to us and I hope that God blesses them,” Dugas said.