Metro-East News

Baby Jesus found; suspect charged in theft from Edwardsville church

Matthew J. Fellhauer and the damaged baby Jesus statue.
Matthew J. Fellhauer and the damaged baby Jesus statue.

Baby Jesus has been found, and a suspect in his kidnapping has been charged.

Edwardsville police have been investigating the theft of the ceramic baby Jesus from St. Boniface Catholic Church’s nativity scene since the week after Christmas. On Thursday, a resident found the baby Jesus figurine discarded on the grounds of the Watershed Nature Center.

The figurine, which is made of hand-painted Italian ceramic and estimated at $250, had sustained damage to one of its arms.

In custody is Matthew Fellhauer, 25, of Florissant, Mo. He is charged with theft under $500 and criminal damage to property, both Class A misdemeanors. He has been released on a notice to appear at the Madison County courthouse.

The church had placed a sign next to the empty manger in its nativity scene, reading “Attn. Thief: You can steal our baby Jesus but you can’t steal our spirit.”

Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald