“We were so happy that the baby Jesus was back before Christmas Eve, but on Friday night a witness saw how two boys came and took the child and threw it in the canal,” said Curt Ankarberg, who heads the manger committee supported by several area churches to Sveriges Radio.
“The witness saw the child floating out in the water.”
The canal flows out from the city and into the expansive Lake Vättern.
The new Jesus theft left Ankarberg with a sinking feeling.
“It’s sad. There is something missing and it’s the most important thing that’s missing,” he said.
“Now we’re going to be forced to buy a new child from the artist. But it won’t be ready for this year’s manger. It will have to wait until next year.”
The baby Jesus initially disappeared a week ago, but was returned the day before Christmas Eve.
It remains unclear who initially took and returned the child.
Ankarberg hasn’t decided whether or not to search for the baby Jesus in the chilly waters of Lake Vättern, but isn’t optimistic that the effort would yield results.
“Even if we find it, we can’t say what sort of shape it will be in after having sat in the water,” he said.