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Live Oak replaces baby Jesus stolen from Nativity scene
• Followers of the Christian faith believe in the Ten Commandments. The Eighth Commandment states, "Thou shalt not steal."
• Section 484 of the state penal code also prohibits petty theft.
Someone stole the baby Jesus doll from the Nativity scene on Highway 99 in Live Oak in violation of the Christmas spirit, the Eighth Commandment, and section 484 of the California Penal Code.
"That's just terrible," said Reggie Singh, the man who owns the property where the Nativity scene and the city's Christmas tree are located.
City officials replaced the doll on Tuesday, according to City Manager Jim Goodwin.
"It's a long-time tradition and this has happened before," Goodwin said.
A city employee's daughter donated a doll to replace the stolen religious figure.
It's not clear when the doll was taken.
No one reported the theft to the Sutter County Sheriff's Department, Capt. Lewis McElfresh confirmed.
Officials put the scene up on Nov. 27, the same day of the Christmas tree lighting, Singh said.
It is the second time the baby Jesus doll has been swiped from the scene during its 15-year history in Live Oak.
The date of the previous theft was not available on Tuesday.
Inmates of the now-defunct Leo Chesney Community Correctional Facility built the scene about 15 years ago and donated it to the city, Goodwin said.
City employees set up the Christmas scene on Singh's vacant property.
"I was born and raised here," Singh said. "It's something the city has always done."
Goodwin said public employees spend only "a very, very nominal" amount of time on the project.
The city has never received any complaints regarding possible infringements on the separation of church and state, Goodwin said.
While the theft may not be the crime of the century, Assistant Sutter County District Attorney Jana McClung said such petty theft cases are prosecuted routinely.
"It is kind of a mean thing to do," McClung said.
CONTACT Rob Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4785. Find him on Facebook at /ADcrimebeat or on Twitter at @ADcrimebeat.