As times become harder, people would steal beyond traditional sources of money or valuables such as banks, department stores or jewelry shops. One of the places they target now is the church because of its collection of antique statues as well as the precious stones on the crown or vestments of images.
People who would dare to steal these items from a church as considered worse than ordinary thieves because their victimise a place of worship, which some people consider a house of God.
However, in the case of a thief who stole a life-sized sculpture of Jesus Christ the other Saturday from the Church of Saint Stephen-in-the-Fields at the corner of College Street and Bellevue Avenue in the Kensington Market area in Toronto, Canada, the stolen item wasn't made of precious materials and even was a representation of poverty.
Made of fiberglass, the statue was called Whatsoever You Do, made by Ontario sculptor Timothy Schmalz, who lent it to the church.
However, passers-by informed a church volunteer on Thursday morning that that stolen statue was at the stairway at the back of the church, along with a note that said, "I'm sorry, it seemed like a good idea at the time."
Maggie Helwig, the reverend of the church, said they are very happy with the return of the statue.
The sculptor said, quoted by CTV News, "I'm feeling great. I thought this could have been some sort of a hate crime ... It was very affirming that someone actually returned it. I couldn't believe someone would've taken it in the first place, because of its subject matter. It's a begging Jesus that's there to make a connection towards the most marginalized people in the city."
The 100-pound statue was stolen in broad daylight, but Mr Schmalz surmised, "I think immediately, or after a day or two, the person was realizing that it wasn't just an ornament but meant a little more to people in the area ... I could just imagine home in the evening, in his living room, looking at the thing, this begging Jesus, feeling more guilty and guilty."
Here's hoping that another thief who stole the Jesus and Mary statues from the Nativity scene in a Boston church over the weekend would similarly be remorseful and likewise follow the footstep of his Toronto counterpart.