Some wise guys swiped the three wise men from a Lawrence couple's nativity scene.
The thieves also heisted Jesus, Mary, Joseph, three shepherds and the animals that had been around the manger of the larger-than-life, front yard creche in the 400 block of Cattleman Court in west Lawrence.
"My wife walked outside just after 6 this morning and noticed it was all gone," Ken Meyer said Tuesday. "All I could think is this is not a good way to start off the holiday."
It wasn't the first time Patricia and Ken Meyer have fallen victim to yuletide chicanery.
"Two other times someone has taken the baby Jesus. The first time we had to buy a new one. The second time the thief actually brought the baby back," Ken Meyer said.
This time the Meyers fear they may not be so lucky.
"I have a feeling we will never see our belongings again," Meyer said.
For years the nativity scene has been a part of the Meyer family tradition.
"On Thanksgiving night every year we put up our tree, the lights, and of course the nativity scene," Meyer said. "I cut out all of the pieces, and over the years my wife has been painting everything in order to make it look perfect."
The nativity scene had more than a dozen figures made from wood. Some stood about 9 feet tall. What's left after the heist is the stable with two angels overlooking the place where the Holy Family used to be. A donkey, a camel and three sheep also survived.
Now the couple is faced with knowing they may have to start all over.
"If no one steps forward, we will go ahead and leave what we have up and then come spring start making everything over again," Meyer said. "At least they waited until after our cul-de-sac Christmas party."
The couple erected a large sign at the creche advising passersby they've been robbed and asking anyone who knows anything about the theft to either return the items or contact the police.