Soaring scrap prices may have enticed thieves to steal an 8-foot statue of Jesus Christ that looks like copper, but isn't.
The statue, affixed to a crucifix at the Church of the Messiah in Detroit, Michigan, is green and looks like copper, said the Rev. Barry Randolph on Wednesday.
Thieves have damaged copper pipes and stolen aluminum gutters at the church during the past few months, said Donya Ray-Gregg, a member of the congregation, which over the years has dwindled from about 350 members to just 50.
It's unclear when the statue was snatched. A parishioner noticed it missing Monday from its perch on the side of the church, 10 feet above the ground. A small piece of plaster was found nearby.
The church has made a public plea for help.
"It is so crazy," Randolph said. "It's been there for so long and was a symbol of hope to a lot of people in this neighborhood."
Police were investigating, but department spokesman James Tate said it was doubtful thieves had mistaken the plaster statue for copper.
"People who steal copper know what copper is and what it feels like," Tate said. "There is no way they would think a plaster statue is some type of metal."