OLD BRIDGE - Police in Old Bridge are investigating the thefts of several lawn ornaments that went missing overnight, including at least one religious statue that can't be replaced.
Just days before Vincent Niemiec's backyard wedding, an important family heirloom is gone. Someone stole a 150-pound statue of the Virgin Mary, something that has more sentimental value than anything else. "It was a part of our family that you have stolen from us," he says. "And we really want it back."
Niemiec says the statue is from Italy and was passed through his fiancee's family, and they were hoping to pass it to their own children and grandchildren.
Old Bridge police say they got three calls from three neighborhoods about stolen lawn ornaments, and there was at least one more Virgin Mary statue. Not all of the items stolen were religious, they say.
Around the corner from the Niemiec's home, Scott Adam says his decoy ornament, which keeps birds from eating his fish, is gone. Another statue was smashed, and a small fisherman was taken off a bench. He says the decoy replaced another that had been stolen. "I ordered a new one and apparently the new one was stolen last night," he says.
Police say Old Bridge High School had graduation Tuesday night, and the thefts could have been a teenage prank or part of a scavenger hunt. They encourage those who took the items to put them back.