Police in Massachusetts are contacting the FBI after a baby Jesus statue was stolen from a Nativity scene and replaced with a pig's head, saying the vandalism could be a hate crime.
A priest at the Sacred Heart Church on Haverhill's South Main Street made the gruesome discovery Christmas morning, according to police.
Police believe the head was placed there between 1:30 and 6:30 a.m. Thursday.
Area farms and local butcher shops are being asked to step forward if they have any information.
Community and parish leaders say the vandalism is shocking.
"People slowly understand what happened, and they're heartbroken, they're horrified, they're outraged by this act. [It] really speaks to us on the most solemn day of great sadness and hurt," Sacred Heart Church's Father John Delaney said.
Bill Lapierre, 77, has attended the Sacred Heart Parish for as long as he can remember. But one thing he can't remember is something as disturbing as this.
"We had just finished doing 400 meals to help the poor and about 1,000 gifts to help the poor and to coming to that was really, really bad," said Lapierre.
The crèche is easily seen from Main Street. It's only about 50 feet off the street, making this brazen crime even more bizarre.
"It really hurts when they do that to any religion because that's our soul, that's where people go when they want to find God and be at peace, especially Christmas morning," Lapierre said.
The public is also asked to contact police at 978-373-1212 if they have any information on this vandalism.
A baby Jesus statue was also stolen from a Nativity scene in Greenfield on Christmas Eve.