His mama's hands have been broken, his pets have been smashed and his birthday crown stolen.

But the latest insult against this particular baby Jesus was his recent abduction from the Christmas Creche Committee's nativity scene, on Market Street near 5th, next to the Independence Visitor Center.

"And here I thought Independence Hall was supposed to be safe from terrorism," said committee member Jimmy Tayoun.

The theft occurred sometime between when the nativity scene was erected on Saturday afternoon and early yesterday morning, when the theft was discovered.

The committee formed 12 years ago to erect the creche at Christmas time, said Tayoun, a former city councilman who now publishes The Philadelphia Record, a political weekly.

For the first 11 years, the committee used "near-life-size" nativity figures made out of plaster, he said.

But five attacks of vandalism on those figures in 12 years left the Virgin Mary's broken hands hanging by a thread and the "beautiful little lambs" stolen or smashed to bits, Tayoun said.

After more than $5,000 in repairs to the creche figurines, the committee switched to plastic figures this year and opted to bolt them down to the manger.

But even that couldn't stop the Grinch bent on stealing the Christ child.

"The statue was found missing at 5:30 a.m. by a committee member," Tayoun said. "He saw the child Jesus was missing. So he walked all over the wooded areas and looked in all the trash cans to see what he could find, and he could find nothing."

A dedication ceremony for the creche scheduled for 4 p.m yesterday went off as planned, Tayoun said. A church in the Northeast allowed the committee to temporarily adopt its baby Jesus, if just for the day.

Tayoun said that the committee doesn't plan on purchasing its own, new baby savior for this year.

"No, he's stolen now," Tayoun said. "There was no room for him in the inn and there seems to be no room for him in Philly." *