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Bayside business group seeks stolen nativity scene

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BBA President Judy Limpert said she noticed it had disappeared Saturday after seeing it at 41-16 Bell Blvd. just the day before. The small building sits across from a small Northfork Bank office and alongside the Bayside Long Island Railroad station"We noticed it when we had left Friday and by Saturday morning it was gone," she said.She has filed a report with police but said she has no idea who might have taken it. As of Tuesday, there were no new leads on the case and the display had not been returned, said Laura Rachiele, a BBA assistant.The association placed its display out on Dec. 11 next to a large menorahalong with other holiday decorations across Bell Boulevard.Limpert said the all-white resin figures were not particularly heavy, but had cost about $250.Although she said the association would buy another display if necessary, the BBA head said she still held out hope the perpetrators would simply return the item."If the reason for taking it was some kind of political statement, then we're willing to talk," she said.Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) renewed efforts last month to convince the DOE to permit nativity displays alongside the menorah and star and crescent in schools for holiday displays; current DOE policy bars the appearance of deities in schools. Limpert also said that if the theft was a matter of need, accommodation could be reached. "If they took it for their own use, we will donate one to them."Limpert said those responsible could contact the BBA's office directly to make up for the misdeed without facing legal repercussions."We're hoping whoever took it will return it." The BBA office can be reached at: 718-229-2277.Reach reporter M. Junaid Alam by e-mail at malam@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext 174.

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