Charges have been dropped against the person charged with stealing baby Jesus from an Edwardsville church.
A figurine of the infant Jesus was stolen two days after Christmas from the Nativity scene outside St. Boniface Catholic Church, which faces the city park and library in downtown Edwardsville. The figurine was discovered on Jan. 7 at Watershed Nature Center, having suffered some damage.
Police arrested Matthew J. Fellhauer, 25, of Florissant, Mo. Fellhauer had been visiting friends in Edwardsville when the statue was taken. He was charged with two class A misdemeanors: theft under $500 and criminal damage to property.
Madison County prosecutors have dismissed the criminal charges after representatives from St. Boniface met with Fellhauer. According to Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, Fellhauer agreed to pay restitution for the damages and repairs to the statue.
Fellhauer also will place the infant Jesus statue in the manger at St. Boniface this coming Christmas Eve.
“St. Boniface showed compassion and a willingness to forgive,” Gibbons said. “I hope the defendant has learned a valuable lesson and appreciates the mercy shown to him by the pastor and pastoral council of St. Boniface.”
St. Boniface showed compassion and a willingness to forgive.
Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons
Class A misdemeanors could have meant fines, probation and up to a year in jail for Fellhauer.
Church officials could not immediately be reached for comment.