Police hoping return of St. Therese statue will help find those responsible for its theft

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Lakewood – Prayers are answered. A religious statue taken from a local museum is now back.  Police hope that the surveillance video of the theft and the return of the statue will help them find the persons responsible.

The statue of St. Therese is now back at the Museum of Divine Statues in Lakewood after being gone for days. Curator Lou McClung works on restoring the statue, damaged when she was stolen the Sunday before Christmas. “Oh, we were all heartbroken.  We couldn't believe someone could do something like that," Lucy McClung, museum volunteer and McClung’s mom said.

Surveillance video shows thieves taking St. Therese -- one of four statues in the meditation garden outside the museum. "The four people who stole it climbed the fence to the garden and they broke the statue off the pedestal, the sandstone pedestal,” Lou McClung said.   The thieves then carried the statue away down Madison Avenue. "The statue is made of fiberglass so it was easy for them to take.  They left behind a lot of damage," he added.

The base of the statue will have to be completely rebuilt and the statue has a lot of scrapes and bumps. “Also, the crucifix that she holds, the arms of Christ has been broken,” McClung added. .

St. Therese was a French nun known as the Little Flower. Many, including McClung's mom prayed for a safe return of the statue. "Last Sunday, someone brought me a rose and that's usually an answer to your prayer.  And I knew as soon as I was given this rose that we were going to find St. Therese.

Just as mysteriously as the statue of St. Therese was taken, she was returned in the driveway of the home next to the museum, the day after Christmas.  The return of the statue took a matter of seconds and was captured on tape. "Someone was running down the street with her, with a trash bag over her head and they placed her in the driveway and actually took the time to take the trash bag off of her head and then ran away,” McClung said.

Lakewood police are still looking for the thieves, who when caught could face felony theft and vandalism charges. "Who knows why people do evil things like this, I don't know.  But, they brought her back.  There must be a reason," Lucy McClung said.