Funny Business with Jane Wells

A Very Special Holiday GPS to Track Those ‘Manger and Menorah Marauders’

Peter Holmes | Age Fotostock | Getty Images

Not everyone is a fan of the holidays. Some people get so Grinchy they plunder Santa displays or Nativity scenes. It’s not “Away in a Manger,” it’s away with one.

Well, humbug this, Scrooge. Help is on the way.

"Jesus Saves, But Who's Saving Jesus?" blares BrickHouse Security, which is donating free GPS services to nonprofits like churches and community groups to protect their holiday displays. "If Baby Jesus or Santa is threatened, attacked or otherwise set upon by thrill-seekers or thieves, a small box imbedded inside the figurine automatically sends a text or email to the owner's mobile phone or computer," writes BrickHouse's Marc Horowitz.

BrickHouse Security will even ship the device free of charge. THAT'S HOW MUCH THEY CARE ABOUT KEEPING GOLD, FRANKINCENSE AND MYRRH OUT OF THE WRONG HANDS. BrickHouse says its tracking software lets owners or police find stolen icons "via a cool Google Maps-ish interface with satellite and street views." You had me at "maps-ish."

"Baby Jesus theft is a trend that's prevalent across the nation," the company says. Really? What, people are in a bad mood? Do they plan to fence the Christ child on the Christmas display black market? Is this an attempt to get back at Rick Perry? "In the last few years, manger and menorah marauders have been making major headlines" (not to mention the Magi, Mary, and Messiah).

BrickHouse started offering its so-called Saving Jesus Program five years ago. "We've averaged about 100 systems per year," Horowitz tells me. "We expect that number to go up this year. For obvious reasons--the whole Greatest Story Every Told thing--a lot of churches wait until Christmas Eve to put out the Baby Jesus."

In the company's press release, it said St. Ambrose Church in Old Bridge, New Jersey, had been using the free GPS tracking service for three years. I called the church to confirm this, and it's true. Has anyone tried to run off with their creche? "So far, so good," I was told.

"To date, we've never had to track a stolen figure," Horowitz says. "Usually, once the communities publicize the fact that they're protected, that keeps the thieves, vandals and heretics away." Apparently where the fear of God doesn't work, the threat of Google Maps-ish will.

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