ST. LOUIS — The “Homeless Jesus” statue that was stolen from in front of New Life Evangelistic Center, downtown, has been located.
New Life Evangelistic Center Vice-President Rev. Ray Redlich said they’ve been told by investigators that someone tried to sell the statue to a scrap dealer.
“Most recently we found that about a third of the statue has been recovered," Redlich said. "Unfortunately, it’s already been chopped up. It’s been cut into pieces, and they’ve recovered about a third of it at a facility in East St. Louis.”
Whoever took the Jesus statue took the statue itself and the bench he was resting on.
“It was all one piece,” said Redlich, correcting a misconception. “The bench was part of the original statue, and they took the whole thing.”
It is made of bronze and could be sold as scrap metal. That’s why it had value to the thieves.
“It had a different value to us,” said Redlich. “It wasn’t the value of the metal or even so much the aesthetic value, but the spiritual value in the sense that it serves as a witness to our community.”
Redlich says all this publicity has brought the statue a lot of attention.
“It has stood these past five-plus years as a witness to the community,” he said. “As Rev. Larry Rice says, it serves to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.”
To that affliction, New Life Evangelistic Center officials are hoping investigators soon add a conviction.
Reverend Redlich said if they find the statue has been cut up in pieces, they may try to get it welded back together. Meanwhile, St. Louis police say they are looking for a white Ford pickup truck in connection with the theft. Anyone with information is asked to call St. Louis Police.