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Thieves make off with wisemen from Soldotna nativity scene

Away with the manger

Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2007

 

  Kathleen Frame and her sister, Karleen Cantin, stand with figures in a nativity scene in their front yeard in Soldotna. Thieves stole several pieces from the collection last week. M. Scott Moon

Kathleen Frame and her sister, Karleen Cantin, stand with figures in a nativity scene in their front yeard in Soldotna. Thieves stole several pieces from the collection last week.

M. Scott Moon

Two of the three Magi are traversing afar again, this time somewhere on the Kenai Peninsula.

Today is Epiphany Sunday — also known as Three Kings Day in Christian culture — the day three wise men brought gifts to Jesus Christ shortly after his birth.

For two elderly Soldotna women, the day is anything but joyous, however, thanks to a thief or thieves who made off with two of their three life-sized wise men ornaments from their Corral Avenue front yard.

The wise men were part of a plywood nativity scene Kathleen Frame, 88, had set up in the yard of the home she shares with her sister, Karleen, 85.

The disappearance of the two wise men was discovered Tuesday evening, and two sets of footprints were left in the snow leading away from where the cutouts had been attached to steel reinforcement bars still in the frozen ground.

Plastic clips attaching the cutouts to the bars had been cut.

A community project of sorts, the wise men were drawn by neighbor Kate Forrest; cut out by Dennis Murray, Heritage Place administrator; primed by his wife, Pat Murray; and decoratively painted by Forrest, according to Pat Murray.

“Initially they had the manger scene with the creche,” Murray said. “Then in the second week of December, we did the camel and the three wise men.”

“It was really beautiful, the way the lights threw their shadows across the front of the house,” Kathleen Frame said Friday.

She said she figures the theft must have occurred while she was at the back of the house or away, because her three small dogs always bark when someone is near the house. She heard nothing.

“I think it was kids. I bet it was a New Year’s prank,” she said.

Frame, who moved to Soldotna three years ago after living in Sterling for about 20 years, said she did not want to bother police about the theft.

“They have much more important things to worry about,” she said.

When asked about the theft Friday, Soldotna Police Chief John Lucking Jr. said this is the first report he has heard this year of holiday ornaments being stolen from a Soldotna yard.

Pat Murray said she hopes “some mom reads about it and realizes her kids didn’t find (the cutouts) in some Dumpster.”

Frame said she hopes they are returned — especially in time for today’s Epiphany holiday.

“I’ll say, ‘Thank you for bringing them back,’” she said.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek @peninsulaclarion.com.



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