A 60-year-old man was arrested after he was found in the attic of a home in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood near Pentagon City.
Police say the resident of a home heard footsteps coming from above early Friday morning and called police. A suspect was located and charged with unlawful entry.
More from an Arlington County Police crime report:
UNLAWFUL ENTRY, 2017-07210024, 800 block of 22nd Street S. At approximately 1:24 a.m. on July 21, police responded to the report of a possible unlawful entry. Upon arrival, it was determined that police were contacted after a tenant reported hearing footsteps in the attic. Police searched the residence and located the suspect. Anthony Jones, 60, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Unlawful Entry. He was held without bail.
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated at 9:35 a.m.) Neighbors of Virginia Highlands Park are accusing Arlington County of ignoring a proposal they put together for the park’s future.
Last year the Aurora Highlands Civic Association submitted a plan for the permit-only softball fields on the west side of the park at 1600 S. Hayes Street to be converted into open space, without any set programming.
“The fields are significantly underused relative to other facilities and especially to open space,” the proposal says, noting that use of the fields is seasonal. “Each field is used for approximately 600 hours per year out of a potential of 4,380 hours (12 hours a day), a total of less than 14% of the time.”
The county is at the beginning of what it says is a “community-wide conversation” about the park’s future and developing a comprehensive plan.
But some residents are critical of staff at the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, saying that staff has not adequately considered their proposal nor communicated with them, despite an “extraordinary effort” on the part of community leaders “to ensure that there was little to no miscommunication in this process.”
“Attempting to develop a long-term plan for the park that fails to openly and honestly consider the needs of all park goers over existing facilities and their usage, as well intentioned as it may be, will just reshuffle that poor planning with some prettying around the edges,” the group Friends of Aurora Highlands Parks said in its latest newsletter.
ARLnow columnist Peter Rousselot wrote in a recent opinion piece that a member of DPR staff said the softball fields “are needed” and would not be removed.
A county spokeswoman, however, said that while there is no set timeline for planning for the park’s revamp, the civic association’s proposal is still on the table.
“The Aurora Highland Civic Association did provide a plan for the neighborhood’s vision for the park,” the spokeswoman said. “When the county begins the framework plan for the park, the civic association’s plan as well as other community-wide inputs will be considered. County staff is now working with the County Board to determine next steps.”
The softball fields at Virginia Highlands Park are used by a variety of leagues across age groups, from youth to adult.
The D.C. Fray adult league — formerly known as United Social Sports — begins a new eight-week season on July 7 at the fields. Founder and CEO Robert Kinsler said the league “strongly supports maintaining and expanding the fields available for organized sports in Arlington and specifically at Virginia Highlands.”
“We permit and use the parks as much as availability and DPR allows and often have to turn away players due to lack of field space in the area,” Kinsler said. “Any loss of the softball fields would be a huge lost for the activity community that lives in the area.”
After a four-month project to refresh its inside, the Aurora Hills Community and Senior Center is set to reopen Monday.
The center at 735 18th Street S. near Pentagon City will be open once again on May 15 for senior activities and community events, including meetings of the Aurora Highlands Civic Association.
At an open house Thursday, community members could take a look around the revamped space. The main meeting room has had a new floor and ceiling installed and new audio-visual equipment added as well as some extra storage.
A breakout room to host fitness classes and other smaller activities has had similar treatment, while the center’s kitchen has new appliances and the front desk has been moved.
The project is part of a $555,000 rehab of the community center and adjoining library, approved last year by the County Board.
The library’s renovations have already been completed. A report by county staff, presented to the County Board as it was considering the upgrades, hinted that the entire building eventually may be torn down to make way for a new elementary school.
An Afghan restaurant in Crystal City is applying for a major revamp, including a name-change and the ability to host live entertainment.
Planning documents filed with the county indicate that Grill Kabob at 507 23rd Street S. hopes to be renamed Sin & Saint. It also would like to add a dance floor on the second level for use on Friday and Saturday nights, in addition to live entertainment from a DJ.
In the application, the owners said the DJ will use speakers and subwoofers, most likely the Electro-Voice brand. The live entertainment would be provided from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The restaurant is located among other bars and eateries along the 23rd Street corridor.
The applicant and county staff discussed the project last night at the Aurora Highlands Civic Association’s monthly meeting.
One person is dead and another is in critical condition after a fire in an Arlington home that had “hoarding conditions” inside, according to firefighters.
The fire was reported at a home on the 2600 block of S. Grant Street, in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood near Crystal City, around 9 p.m. Sunday.
“Units are dealing with hoarding conditions,” an Arlington County Fire Department spokesperson said as firefighting operations were still underway.
One person was brought out of the home, treated by medics and transported to Virginia Hospital Center. A second person was located in the home and later pronounced dead.
Pics from tonight's Grant St fire. pic.twitter.com/sr2hPn3Dt7
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) March 6, 2017
Update at 2:30 p.m. — Arlington County has released the following press release about the investigation into the house fire.
One person is dead and another critically injured after a house fire last night at 2623 S. Grant St.
Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) crews arrived on the scene shortly before 9 p.m. to find dark smoke coming from all levels of the single-family home and flames on the first floor.
After neighbors reported that the two residents of the home were unaccounted for, crews had difficulty entering through the front door because of hazardous hoarding conditions inside.
Widespread clutter in the home not only delayed search, rescue and suppression efforts but was also found later to be a factor in spreading the flames.
Both victims were ultimately located on the first floor and removed from the home. The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes.
An adult male was pronounced dead at the scene and an adult female was transported to the Virginia Hospital Center in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.
Some 60 firefighters responded to the blaze, including personnel from Alexandria Fire Department, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Fire Emergency Services and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire and Rescue.
ACFD fire marshals are investigating the origin and cause of the blaze and have been unable to confirm the presence of any working smoke alarms in the home.
Smoke alarms provide vital early warnings, increasing time for escape and the chances of surviving a fire.
ACFD urges you to:
- Install smoke alarms on every floor and in every bedroom of a home
- Test alarms every month by pushing the test button
- Change the batteries in alarms twice a year, at the beginning and end of daylight savings time
- Replace all alarms every 10 years or according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Contact ACFD for assistance testing your smoke alarms or to request a free smoke alarm installation
- Ensure every person in your home knows and practices a home escape plan: pay special attention to those needing help evacuating; have two ways out of every room; get low; close doors behind you; go to a family meeting place; and once outside, stay outside
- Get help for hoarding situations: Arlington County has a Hoarding Task Force to assist in eliminating the hazards that stem from hoarding and to protect the community at large
The time to take steps to make a home safer is right now.
Photo via ACFD
David Black, who was convicted in November of murdering his estranged wife in her home near Pentagon City, will serve two consecutive life sentences in prison.
The sentence, which was recommended by the jury, was confirmed by an Arlington Circuit Court judge Wednesday afternoon.
Black lived just blocks away from his wife, Bonnie Delgado Black, in the Arlington Ridge neighborhood. Prosecutors say he broke into her home on April 17, 2015 and stabbed her to death.
The murder scene was discovered after neighbors found Black’s two young children wandering around outside the home that morning.
More from an Arlington County Police Department press release:
David Black, 45, of Arlington, VA was sentenced on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in the Arlington County Circuit Court to two consecutive life terms in prison for the 2015 murder of Bonnie Black.
Theophani K. Stamos, Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney and M. Jay Farr, Arlington County’s Chief of Police made the announcement following the court appearance.
On April 17, 2015, officers were dispatched to the 1100 block of 18th Street S. after two concerned citizens located the Black children alone outside their residence and called police for assistance. Arriving officers located Bonnie Black deceased from an apparent stabbing inside the residence. Detectives began an intensive investigation revealing that Bonnie Black was the victim of domestic violence.
David Black, the estranged husband of Bonnie Black, was taken into custody in October 2015 pursuant to an indictment issued by a special investigative grand jury. The indictment and subsequent bench warrant charged him with one count of first degree murder and one count of burglary while armed with the intent to commit a felony. On November 8, 2016, a jury returned a unanimous verdict finding David Black guilty on both counts.
Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Theophani K. Stamos said, “The imposition of two life sentences for the murder of Bonnie Black speaks volumes about our community’s views when it comes to domestic violence. We’re grateful to Judge Newman and the jury for their hard work, deep consideration and attention throughout a very difficult trial.”
Arlington County Deputy Chief Daniel J. Murray, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division said, “This horrific murder personalized the investigation for the entire Criminal Investigations Section, many of whom had children themselves. They worked relentlessly for the cause of justice. The complex investigation, prosecution and ultimate conviction were possible because of a strong partnership between the Homicide/Robbery Unit and the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. Unfortunately nothing can bring Bonnie Black back to her loving family colleagues and friends but it is our fervent hope that we have been able to provide them with some closure.”
Linden Business Resources (750 23rd Street S.) is again hosting its family-friendly Miracle on 23rd Street holiday event. It’s scheduled to start at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2.
The tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for 6:25, Santa is expected to arrive via fire truck at 6:30 and a 50/50 raffle will take place at 8 p.m. Unlike past years, this year’s event will be held completely outside.
There will also be food trucks and holiday music and entertainment. The event is free and open to the public.
Police say a man entered a dry cleaning business on the 700 block of 23rd Street S. just after 2 p.m. The suspect brandished a gun, demanded money and made off with an undisclosed amount of cash.
The man then drove off in “newer model four-door sedan.”
The suspect is described as a 6’2″ black male, 250-270 lbs, in his 30s or 40s, according to Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
From an ACPD crime report:
ROBBERY, 2016-11190173, 700 block of S. 23rd Street. At approximately 2:12 p.m. on November 19, an unknown male subject entered a business, brandished a firearm, and demanded money from the employee. The subject fled the scene in a nearby vehicle with an undisclosed amount of cash. The investigation is ongoing.
The suspect also tried to steal the woman’s purse, according to police.
From this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
ATTEMPTED ROBBERY/ SEXUAL BATTERY, 161028033, 1200 block of S. Thomas Street. At approximately 8:11 p.m. on October 28, officers responded to the report of an attempted robbery. Upon investigation, it was determined a female victim was attempting to enter a building when an unknown male subject obstructed her entrance. The male subject grabbed her arm and pulled the victim down a flight of stairs where he touched her inappropriately. The subject then attempted to steal the victim’s purse, but fled the scene when the victim cried out for help. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male in his thirties, approximately 5’5″ tall and 150 lbs. He was wearing a black jacket, dark pants, and had a black winter hat on.
Two other crimes of a sexual nature were included in the crime report. Both occurred last Wednesday, in the Aurora Highlands and Courthouse areas respectively.
SEXUAL BATTERY, 161025028, 2700 block of S. Fern Street. At approximately 3:15 p.m. on October 26, officers responded to the report of a sexual battery that had just occurred. Upon investigation, it was determined that an unknown male subject approached a female victim from behind and pushed his genitals against her buttocks region. Saul Diaz Hernandez, 50, of Arlington Va, was arrested and charged with sexual battery. He is being held on an unsecured bond.
EXPOSURE, 161026041, 1900 block of N. 15th Street. At approximately 7:38 p.m. on October 26, officers responded to the report of an exposure. Upon investigation, it was determined that a male subject exposed his genitals to a female victim. The suspect is described as a white male in his late twenties, approximately 5’7″ tall and weighed 155 lbs. He was wearing a grey hoodie and a dark jacket
The rest of the past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.
Board Funds Westover Apartment Purchase — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a $10.9 million loan that will allow the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to purchase 68 affordable but aging apartment units in the Westover neighborhood. Separately, an effort to designate Westover as a protected historic district, with the goal of preserving other affordable apartments, is continuing. Arlington’s Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board will hold a key meeting on the topic in November. [Arlington County, InsideNova]
Outreach Planned for Bluemont Baseball Project — Following a raft of complaints and letters from nearby residents, county officials will be holding a community meeting Oct. 5 to discuss an approved contract to renovate one of the baseball fields at Bluemont Park. County Board members on Saturday chastised county staff for inadequate neighborhood outreach on the project prior to its July approval by the Board. [InsideNova]
Aurora Hills Community Center Upgrades OKed — As expected, the County Board has approved a $555,800 contract to upgrade the interior of the Aurora Hills Senior Center and Library. Separately, the Board also approved a $2.7 million utility undergrounding project for the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road, which is slated for future streetscape improvements. [Arlington County]
Rodney Hunt Fighting Mansion Eviction — Once a wealthy information technology executive, Rodney Hunt was recently released from a jail sentence on drug charges and is now fighting the foreclosure auction sale of his $24 million mansion on Chain Bridge Road in Arlington. Over the past few months the sprawling home has been used to host “mansion parties,” one of which resulted in a drive-by shooting in McLean. [Washington Post]
High School Boundary Changes Coming Soon — Arlington Public Schools will be hosting a series of public outreach events next month as part of a boundary “refinement” process for the county’s high schools. The usually-contentious process of adjusting school boundaries will this time determine which students attend Arlington’s three comprehensive high schools: Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown. The changes will not affect current high school students. [Arlington Public Schools, InsideNova]
Local CVS Accused of Selling Expired Shakes — A CVS store on Columbia Pike is being accused of selling nutritional shakes that expired a year ago and made an elderly woman sick last month. In response to a TV station’s outreach, CVS promised to work with the store to make sure that it’s removing expired products from shelves. [WJLA]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
The Arlington County Board is expected to approve $555,000 in interior upgrades to the Aurora Hills Community Center and Library at its meeting this weekend.
The low-slung building, located at 735 18th Street S., near Pentagon City, houses both a library and a senior center. In explaining the need for upgrades, county staff said the center is “an aging facility.”
“The proposed renovation includes demolition of existing and construction of new office, storage rooms, kitchen, new ADA bathrooms, receptionist desk, circulation desk, new floor finishes, additional electrical and mechanical system upgrade,” county staff wrote. “The work will also include the restoration or repair of ceilings and walls in areas that are impacted by this interior renovation.”
Some programs at Aurora Hills will be moved to the Gunston Community Center during construction. The renovations were originally set to take place a bit later than currently scheduled, but were “accelerated” by the County Board, staff say.
The county staff report hints that the Aurora Hills center may eventually be torn down to make way for a new elementary school.
“The site was also identified during the Arlington Public Schools’ South Arlington Working Group process as a possible site for redevelopment in conjunction with Schools;” says the report. “The proposed improvements will provide operational and program value for a number of years until such time that the County and Schools choose to pursue a redevelopment.”
New Traffic Pattern on Route 1 — There’s a new traffic pattern for the lefthand turn from southbound Route 1 (Jefferson Davis Highway) to 23rd Street S. in Crystal City. The change was necessitated by operations of the new Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway. [Facebook]
Aurora Hills Library Eyed As School Site — The current Aurora Hills library and senior center is being looked at by Arlington Public Schools as a possible site for a new elementary school. Meanwhile, even though nearby Oakridge Elementary is over capacity, Superintendent Patrick Murphy says there’s actually a more pressing need for additional elementary capacity in north Arlington due to population growth around the Rosslyn-Ballston and Lee Highway corridors. [InsideNova]
Australian Company Says G’Day to Ballston — The Australian investment firm QIC has taken a 49 percent stake in Ballston Quarter, the soon-to-be-renovated shopping center currently known as Ballston Common Mall. The majority of the mall is still owned by Cleveland-based Forest City. [Washington Business Journal, Crain’s Cleveland Business]
Local Named New Jersey Cherry Blossom Princess — The 2016 New Jersey Cherry Blossom Princess is a 24-year-old Hoboken native who now lives in the D.C. area and works at Rosslyn-based CEB. [Hudson Reporter]
CEB Acquires Portland Firm — Rosslyn-based CEB is getting bigger. The company is acquiring Portland, Oregon-based Evanta Ventures for $275 million. CEB will be moving into a new namesake CEB Tower in Rosslyn after construction wraps up in 2018. [StreetInsider]
Arlington’s Top Bond Rating Affirmed — Arlington County has once again earned the highest bond rating from the three major rating agencies. “The County works hard to maintain these AAA ratings to finance critical County infrastructure projects with bonds that carry the lowest interest rates available,” said County Manager Mark Schwartz. [Arlington County]
Photo via @WLHSIBProgram
The County Board allocated $1.4 million for the community improvement projects, which were selected by the citizen-led Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee. The committee makes such funding recommendations to the Board twice a year.
Three of the projects were largely uncontroversial — a neighborhood sign for Shirlington, a beautification project for the historic Calloway United Methodist Church cemetery, and street improvements for the 4800 block of 9th Street S. The biggest recommendation, a $800,000 improvement project for Nelly Custis Park (701 24th Street S.), picked up some outspoken critics in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood.
The project would add new plantings, an ADA accessible walkway, improved storm water management and a small play area for school-aged children next to an existing playground. While supporters said most of the community was in favor of the project, a few critics launched a campaign against it, objecting mostly to the playground. Other concerns included the addition of extra pavement from the ADA pathway and “tricycle loop.”
“We heard a number of concerns from the community,” acknowledged Lisa Grandle, of Arlington’s parks and recreation department.
What’s usually an easy vote on the County Board’s “consent agenda” instead became a nearly hour-long discussion that centered around the Neighborhood Conservation process in general and the park project in particular. Board member John Vihstadt led the questioning, and attempted a motion to separate out the Nelly Custis project from the other three, for a vote in March. The motion failed.
The necessity of the conversation seemed to frustrate some Board members. “I‘m disappointed that we’re here tonight, but we’re here,” said Christian Dorsey.
In the end, the Board voted to approve the project as proposed. From a county press release:
The Arlington County Board today approved nearly $1.4 million in funding for four new Neighborhood Conservation projects. The approved projects include street improvements, neighborhood beautification, park improvements, and a neighborhood sign.
The projects, submitted by residents and endorsed by civic associations, are qualified by staff, then evaluated by the Neighborhood Conservation Advisory Committee (NCAC) before coming to the County Board for approval. The NCAC considered 31 projects at its Dec. 10, 2015 meeting and decided to recommend four of them to the County Board for funding.
The Board voted unanimously to approve funding for the four projects. To read the Staff Reporton this Item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #10 on the Agenda for the Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 Regular County Board Agenda.
“We rely on residents to help us identify the best projects to make their neighborhoods safer, stronger and more attractive,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “For more than 50 years, Arlington’s Neighborhood Conservation program has helped build community by funding projects identified by the people who live in the neighborhoods.”
The projects approved by the County Board today are funded by the voter-approved 2014 Neighborhood Conservation Bond. It is the third set of projects to be approved from the $12 million bond. The four approved projects are:
- $12,500 for Shirlington neighborhood sign – Location and design by the community with staff assistance. Sign fabrication, sign installation and landscaping.
- $798,222 for Aurora Highlands Park project – Improvements to Nelly Custis Park including storm water management to correct existing drainage problems; removal of invasive species; improving circulation for accessibility and park use; additional school-age play equipment; new site furnishings; and additional plantings for shade and beautification.
- $129,625 for Highview Park beautification project – Calloway United Methodist Church Cemetery improvements that include a perimeter fence, interpretive sign, a bench and trash receptacle. A public access easement over the local historic district will allow the public to visit the cemetery and interpret its history.
- $432,561 for Barcroft street improvement project – 4800 block of 9th Street S to W&OD Trail. Includes completion of missing concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk along the south side of 9th Street S, in the westerly half of the 4800 block, between S Buchanan St and the W&OD Trail. Street milling and paving as needed, including the trail connector between the street dead end and the W&OD Trail. Storm water drainage improvements and the addition of LED Carlyle-style streetlights are a part of the proposed project
The Board also approved the use of $228,000 in additional funds required for street improvements on South Fern Street (project previously approved by the NCAC at the fall 2011 funding session). This additional funding was reviewed and voted on by NCAC at its Jan. 14, 2016 meeting.
The Arlington County Board this weekend is set to consider a $1.6 million slate of minor neighborhood improvement projects.
Most of the time, such “Neighborhood Conservation” projects are uncontroversial. The latest includes a neighborhood sign for Shirlington, a beautification project for the historic Calloway United Methodist Church cemetery, and street improvements for the 4800 block of 9th Street S., which leads to the W&OD Trail in the Barcroft neighborhood.
One project, however, has resulted in a flurry of back-and-forth emails to reporters and county officials, accusations of lies and bad faith, and exhaustive five-page missives. No, this isn’t over a bocce court. It’s over a play area for 5-12 year olds in a 0.8 acre park in Aurora Highlands.
At $798,222, the Neighborhood Conservation project for Nelly Custis Park (701 24th Street S.) is the priciest item in the latest batch. The project includes new plantings, improved storm water management, removal of invasive species, a new ADA accessible walkway and — most controversially — a small play area for school-aged children next to an existing playground.
On one side are members of the “Friends of Aurora Highlands Parks” group, which formed last year to oppose a new playgrounds and athletic courts, saying that the neighborhood had enough of them already.
A member of the group, who in her latest emails asked not to be identified by name, had this to say about the Nelly Custis project: “It has been contentious and controversial from within the neighborhood from the beginning and continues to move forward with some very significant questions about tax-payer waste, process and community input.”
On the other side are residents and Aurora Highlands Civic Association members who say they’re in favor of the changes, which are coming after an extensive planning process involving the community.
“The neighborhood is in overwhelming support of the project and it has undergone an extensive (more than required) development process,” said Mary Humphreys, who’s lived in Aurora Highlands, near Crystal City, for more than 10 years. “Unfortunately, there is a very vocal resident… who is opposed to the improvements and despite many kind and collaborative efforts, he continues to spread incorrect information.”
Humphreys said the spat essentially boils down to the fact that opponents of the play area want local parks to serve “age-diverse needs” — more green space, dog park and water features, not just playgrounds.
For opponents, until the project is approved, the fight continues. On Monday, the “Friends” member who asked not to be identified wrote a letter to the County Board with a slew of questions. Among them:
“How can the public have confidence in the environmental integrity of NC park projects when the formal process fails to include a review by all relevant county commissions, including the Arlington Park & Recreation Commission and the Environment and Energy Conservation Commission?” she wrote. “No commission or committee formally reviewed this project despite requests for them to do so.”
“This is not the Arlington Way,” the letter-writer concluded.
Baby Jesus was stolen from outside Calvary United Methodist Church (2315 S. Grant Street), in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood, sometime between 8 p.m. Saturday and the next morning, when parishioners showed up for Sunday worship services.
Police were called and took a report Monday, though hopes of cops catching the perpetrator are low. Rev. Matthew G. Smith said he’s hoping the thief has a change of heart and repents — by returning the Son of God to his rightful place in the manger, at least until the nativity scene is brought inside next weekend. Alternatively, the little Lord could also be left on the front steps of the church or brought, in person, to the front office.
“We have no desire to prosecute,” Smith said. “We would be very happy just to get Him back.”
“Baby Jesus missing,” said a sign posted in front of the nativity scene today. “Please return. No questions asked.”
(No other nativity thefts were reported this year in Arlington, according to an ACPD spokeswoman.)
This was the third time Jesus had been swiped from the church’s nativity scene, and if all works out it wouldn’t be the first time He has been returned, Smith said. The first time, years ago, Jesus mysteriously reappeared in the nativity scene on Christmas morning.
The last time, a few years back, baby Jesus vanished for good. A parishioner ended up ordering a new, hand-painted figure of the young Prince of Peace from Italy and donated it to the church as a replacement.
Before the nativity scene was put on display a few weeks ago, in mid-December, Smith and some church members discussed ways to prevent theft. The nativity scene itself is bolted down, but the Italian baby Jesus is too fragile to be secured in a permanent fashion. While many ideas were proposed, the one that was implemented involved tying fishing line around the porcelain figure. That did not save the Savior; the fishing line was cut by the thief.
Smith said he expects there to be more discussion of nativity security ahead of 2016’s Christmas season. Should the Christ child not be returned, the church will also have to consider raising funds to buy a new one. The pastor said he wasn’t sure of the cost of a new porcelain baby Jesus, but said of the Italian-made model that was stolen, “I’m certain it’s not inexpensive.”
“We will look for ways next year,” to secure baby Jesus, he said, “but we don’t want to chain him in.”
Either way, said Smith, “it’s not going to sour our love of the community or our mission.”
Photo via Facebook