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      Virgin Mary statue stolen in Harlingen

      Greg Garcia's front yard on Taft Street in Harlingen is very well maintained and stocked with Christmas decorations and a few religious statues.

      But the largest and most dear to him is now gone, taken from right under his nose.

      The statue is a 50-pound, 4 and a half foot Virgin Mary.

      It's one that Greg cherishes and was preparing to celebrate on December 12th, which is celebrated at el Da de la Virgen de Guadalupe.

      That's when Catholics acknowledge as the day a peasant named Juan Diego was able to show proof that he had seen the Virgin Mary.

      The statue has served as Greg's form of protection."I would kiss her every morning and ask her to pray for me while I was at work," Greg told Action 4 News.

      Even though he covered the statue Saturday night, he was unable to keep it safe from the sticky hands of thieves early Sunday morning.

      "I heard something at about 5 a.m. so I came out of the house and the Virgin Mary was gone," Greg said. "I saw a dark colored cadillac driving away."

      The statue cost more than $125, but Greg says he's much more disappointed in the loss of a piece of his history and has turned to prayer for the Virgin Mary's safe return.

      He also called on local authorities.

      "It hurts," Greg said. "My grandmother taught me all about the saints and the Virgin Mary." He believes his statue is in the hands of someone who may be planning to sell it and asks that whoever that is finds compassion, especially during the holidays, to give it back.

      Greg has faith that will happen.

      If you know where the statue might be, contact Harlingen Police at (956) 425-TIPS.