WOODSIDE -- Sometime between the late-night revelry of New Year's Eve and the first dawn of 2013, somebody absconded with the Baby Jesus.
Jesus wasn't the only one snatched, lifted from the manger of a nativity scene in front of a business at the intersection of Canada Lane and Woodside Road. Thieves also made off with Joseph, the Virgin Mary, the Three Kings, shepherds and a menagerie of barn animals.
The weighted plastic figures, valued at $1,600, have been set up as a public display at the well-traveled intersection every year since 2005.
"It's something that 15 members of the community came together to put forth," said Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt, spokeswoman for the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office. "It was something people could pass by and see as associated with the season."
Rosenblatt said that it was hoped the display was swiped on a New Year's whim and would be returned to its rightful owners, but after days went by and it didn't show up, community members feared the figures -- numbering about 15 -- were gone for good.
She said that word of the crime has spread and there's been "an outpouring of support" with offers of money to replace the statues.
"Members of the community are horrified and committed to getting the statues back," she said.
The sheriff's office is asking for the public's help in locating the stolen nativity scene. Anyone with information about the theft or whereabouts of any of the figurines is asked to contact Detective Bridget Hensley at 650-363-4051 or the anonymous tip line at 1-800-547-2700.
Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.