JAY — Somewhere, a Nativity scene must be missing its camel, and Peggy Sheaff is hoping to remedy that.

Sheaff, who recently moved to South Carolina but is spending the summer and fall in Jay, said she hopes she can find the rightful owners of a 4-foot-long, 4-foot-tall camel figure she bought at a yard sale a few years back.

Sheaff said it dawned on her a few months ago that she recalled hearing something about a Nativity camel being stolen from someplace in southern Maine. If it’s the camel she has, she would like to get it back to the rightful owner.

A retired antiques dealer, Sheaff bought the camel for about $100 about three years ago because she thought it may have been collectible advertising memorabilia for the Camel brand of cigarettes. Sheaff has been calling the camel “Joe” after the brand’s mascot, Joe Camel.

“I thought he was an advertisement from back in the 1960s, but he was not,” Sheaff said. “But then I saw something on TV, and I can’t remember when that was, but I thought they referenced a missing camel and how it was worth more than $500, or something like that.”

Several reporters and editors at the Sun Journal did a little Web searching and came up with several reports of figures being stolen from Nativity scenes, including at least two references to camels in New Jersey and Pennsylvania being swiped from churches or lawns.

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One person posting on Twitter even suggested somebody had stolen a camel and a donkey from his “live-action” Nativity scene and, based on the post, he was not happy about it, suggesting that whoever stole the figures would be “(expletive) dead” if they were not returned immediately.

Sheaff said she just wants to get her camel back to its home so it can be displayed again for the holidays. She said she’s not sure what the camel is made of, but it’s covered with a soft, brown leather that’s faded some from being left in the sun by a previous owner.

“If he were the proper color that he is supposed to be, he would look like a live camel,” Sheaff said.

Anyone with information about the camel may contact Sun Journal Editor Scott Thistle at 207-689-2849 or email [email protected].


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