The lesson here: If you're going to pull a prank, don't mess with baby Jesus.
Although it was a first-time offense, and the culprits confessed and returned the Christmas decorations and road sign they stole in December, two Somerset men will serve 45 days in jail and two years' probation for misdemeanor theft.
Nicholas A. Brainard, 21, and David A. Gialdini, 19, pleaded guilty to theft and receiving stolen property. A street sign, Christmas lights and other decorations, including a baby Jesus statue from a Nativity scene, were found in the men's apartment. Victims of the thefts included Pulaski County Attorney Bill Thompson.
Susan Mucci, who owns the baby Jesus statue that was stolen, said she thought the sentence was appropriate.
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"When I found out that they had stolen other things, particularly street signs ... you know, we were upset about it," Mucci said. "I would hope that they have learned their lesson out of this deal."
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney David Dalton said the intent behind the thefts was nothing more malicious than a prank, and a first-time theft charge often won't garner jail time.
But "these were callous and hurtful acts directed at families trying to celebrate a sacred event," Dalton said in a news release. "These are tough times, and parents shouldn't have to explain to children why someone would steal 'baby Jesus' out of a Nativity scene or rip decorations from the side of the house. It was a stupid stunt and deserved some jail time."