It’s possible it was a “Senior Week” prank, but Catholics in Ocean City, Md., are not laughing at the theft of a 3-foot tall Blessed Virgin Mary statue from the prayer garden outside Holy Savior Church on Philadelphia Avenue.
“We want our Mary back,” said Donna Santoni, administrative assistant at the parish.
So do the police in Ocean City.
In a Facebook post from the OCPD, it is reported that Mary was reported missing Tuesday, June 13, and was likely stolen sometime the previous evening from church property near 17th Street. The statue is described as 3-feet tall and heavy, usually requiring more than one person to lift it.
“If anyone knows about this theft or saw any suspicious activity in the area of Kingfish Ave and 17th Street, please contact Officer R. Walker at email@example.com or contact police department at (410) 723-6610,” according to the web post by police. The church is part of St. Mary, Star of the Sea parish.
Santoni said security cameras at the parish did not pick up the looters but police were checking surrounding businesses to see if available footage captured any leads.
Mary’s statue has been part of the Rosary Prayer Garden more than 10 years, Santoni said.
“It’s a beautiful rosary prayer garden that people use all the time,” Santoni said in a June 14 telephone interview. “There is a man out there praying right now. He rode his bike there. It’s a beautiful, beautiful garden in a crazy, chaotic town.”
Mid-June is a popular time for graduating high school seniors to populate the bustling beach town.
Santoni said she was told a large “Peppa Pig” was stolen from a business and a dinosaur was damaged at a mini-golf location.
The garden has been part of the church landscape more than 20 years, Santoni said.
“Everyone is sad,” she said. “Everyone is praying.”