Most reading this are too young to remember Jack Webb, his long-running radio and television cop show Dragnet or "The Christmas Story" that originally aired on Dec. 21, 1967, and was repeated every holiday season for years after in re-runs.
Los Angeles police officers Friday [Webb] and Gannon [Harry Morgan], spend most of the episode chasing leads to find a baby Jesus statue stolen from a nativity display at a Roman Catholic church. As they break the bad news to Father Xavier Rojas at the parish, a little boy pulling a red wagon carrying the statue approaches.
ROJAS: It's Peco Mendoza, a boy from the parish.
FRIDAY: Well, ask him where he found it.
ROJAS (to Peco): ¿Dónde le encontraste?
PECO: No encontré, lo cogí esta mañana.
ROJAS: He says he didn't find it, he took it.
PECO: Todo los años rezé para un camioncito rojo. Y en este año rezé al niño Jesús y le prometí que el primer viaje en mi camioncito.
ROJAS: He says that all through the years he prayed for a red wagon. This year he prayed to the child Jesus. He promised that if he got the red wagon, the child Jesus would have the first ride in it.
PECO: ¿Me llevará el Diablo?
ROJAS: He wants to know if the Devil will come and take him to hell.
FRIDAY: That's your department, father.
ROJAS: El Diablo, no. Por que Jesús ama mucho a Pequito. ("The Devil, no. Because Jesus loves Pequito very much.")
Pequito smiles, the padre sends him home and actual tears seem to be forming in the hard-boiled coppers' peepers.
Start rounding up the usual red wagon-toting suspects: a statue of baby Jesus was stolen from the nativity scene in Old Towne Orange's Plaza Park.
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The infant Christ was described as 30 inches long, 18 inches wide, 10 pounds and valued at $400. The baby-snatcher had to cut wires to remove the statue.
A community group has erected and removed the nativity scene from Plaza Park for a decade, Orange Mayor Carolyn Cavecche told the Orange County Register. It's the second time the Christ child has been poached.
"You wonder what kind of person does this either as a prank or as a statement the week before Christmas," Madame Mayor lamented.
Probably not a latter-day Peco.