WOODLAND PARK — Police are looking for a Mercedes SUV in connection with the theft of three 50 lb statues stolen from a church nativity scene the day after Christmas.

The statues of Holy Mary, St Joseph and Baby Jesus were in front of Holy Cross Church on Browertown Road before they were removed between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Sunday.

Two of the church's seven video surveillance cameras captured images showing a while Mercedes ML350 in the church parking lot during that time and is a "vehicle of interest" in the investigation, according to police.

Light reflection prevented a license plate number from being visible.

The Mercedes in the video leaves the lot and heads north on Mount Pleasant Avenue, according to police. They are asking residents to check their home security systems in order to capture an image of the driver.

"We are sad that someone would take these statues from the church," the Rev. Joseph R. Cyman initially posted on the church's Facebook page.

Merecedes SUV "of interest" to police in the theft of nativity statues from Holy Cross Church in Woodland Park
Merecedes SUV "of interest" to police in the theft of nativity statues from Holy Cross Church in Woodland Park (Woodland Park police)
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A church tradition for 28 years

The church has been displaying the nativity for 28 years, Cyman said on the church's Facebook page.

The statues were donated by parishioner Mary Margo in memory of her parents in 1994 at a cost of $2,800. Mango died in 2020 because of COVID-19, according to Cyman.

"I ask you above all to pray so that we could find the Nativity Scene statues that are part of our church history, and also have sentimental and sacred values. The Nativity Scene was admired by many people traveling by our church during Christmas time," Cyman wrote.

Woodland Park police asked anyone with video footage or information about the theft to call 973- 345-8111.

Nativity statues at Holy Cross Church in Woodland Park
Nativity statues at Holy Cross Church in Woodland Park (Woodland Park police)
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Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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