Statue of Virgin Mary found after 'senseless' theft from Debden, Sask., shrine: mayor

The mayor of the north-central Saskatchewan village believes vandals used a tractor to pull the statue off its foundation on Tuesday night. It was safely back in Debden on Thursday, although with a few scrapes and gouges, says the village's mayor.

Mayor believes vandals used tractor to pull statue off foundation on Tuesday

A three-metre high statue was stolen from a shrine in Debden, Sask., Tuesday night. It's now back, although a little worse for wear. (Submitted by Rod Fisher)

A large stone statue of the Virgin Mary stolen out of a shrine in a north-central Saskatchewan village earlier this week is now back — although a little the worse for wear.

People in Debden were shocked after vandals apparently hitched a chain to a statue of Our Lady of Fatima and ripped it off of its foundation on Tuesday night.

"It was just senseless," said Rod Fisher, the mayor of the village, which is 155 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

"Like, what was the point?"

On Thursday, the statue was relocated.

Fisher said it has "scrapes and gouges" but is still in one piece. He expects volunteers will restore it to its former glory.

The shrine has stood in village for more than 50 years. Debden's priest began building the shrine following the Second World War, after all of the village's soldiers returned home without being injured.

Fisher said whoever was responsible would have had to work hard at dislodging the statue, which stands roughly three metres tall.

He believes someone used a tractor to pull the statue down, dragging it down the street.

"One of the businesses in town here has a security camera outside the front that shoots down the road," he said.

"We have a good idea who it is," he said. "There's a couple of people that kind of allegedly witnessed it.… They thought that maybe the church group was just sending out for repairs or something."

Fisher said the last he's heard, nobody has been charged.

He says he still has "no idea" why this happened.