MADRID – Spaniards are furious after thieves in hoodies stole a baby Jesus figure from a town’s nativity scene and demanded a €2,000 (£1,723) ransom for its return.
Dressed in white tracksuits with black scarves concealing their faces, the pranksters paraded the effigy in a video posted on TikTok, with €20 and €10 notes lying on top of Christ’s body.
The clip showed one of the men stealing the Jesus figure from the Nativity scene and went viral on social media, attracting 484,000 views on X, formerly Twitter.
The two “kidnappers” demanded cash from local police for the rescue of the figure and said authorities had “not looked after Jesus well”.
The pair said that if they did not receive the money, they would “do harm to Jesus”.
“Tonight, he will sleep with us,” they added.
In a country where a recent government poll found 60 per cent of the population identified as Catholics, the incident prompted anger.
Ana Maria posted on X: “They have lost respect for almost everything. A bad way.”
Another person, calling themselves @Lubeck, posted: “We need laws so that when the police find these ‘youngsters’ they can teach them the importance of civility.”
Some joked about the incident, saying if the pair did not return the Jesus they would not receive any presents from the Three Kings, which traditionally arrive on 6 January, the Epiphany, in Spain.
@mil_eurista posted: “They should return it, or they will get nothing from the Kings.”
The council in San Vicente del Raspeig, a town of 57,000 people near Alicante in south-eastern Spain where the theft took place on Saturday, later said that the effigy had been dumped in a bin.
Spanish police said on Monday that they had arrested and charged two men, aged 19 and 21, with stealing a Jesus figure from a nativity scene and demanding a ransom on TikTok.
Last year, a nativity scene in Spain was recognised as the tallest in the world by the Guinness World Records.
The 2022 edition listed that the scene in Alicante reached 54.89 metres high (180 ft), beating the previous record held by Monterrey in Mexico, which stands at 28.5m.