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Police corral cow making escape from Old City nativity scene

Police worked to capture the cow Thursday morning after it made a run for it not once, but twice.

“Stormy” the cow at rest in an Old City nativity scene.
“Stormy” the cow at rest in an Old City nativity scene.Read moreMyron Miller

A cow decided to break free not once, but twice, from a live Nativity scene in Old City.

Officials worked to corral the 1,100-pound Hereford cow named Stormy after she escaped from Old First Reformed United Church of Christ at Fourth and Race Streets, causing some traffic problems for motorists, Philadelphia police said.

No cow-ard, Stormy was first found at the I-95 southbound ramp near Callowhill Street around 2:25 a.m. Thursday. Police then called the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia to get her into a horse trailer and back to the church.

But for the cow and cops, the night had only begun. Stormy made another run for it around 6:30 a.m. She was later found in a parking garage at Fourth and Market Street, according to police.

John Owens, program assistant at the church, said he believes someone tampered with the gate to the Nativity scene. After Stormy was taken back to the church the first time, he said, she may have learned the gate's primary function and let herself out again.

Stormy's carefree antics came with some consequences, Owens said. The cow was being sent to W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences in Roxborough.

"She's starting to cause too much of a ruckus for us," Owens said.

The scene, which also includes two sheep and two donkeys from the school, will be on display until the end of the month.

Police poked fun on social media at the udderly unusual situation.

"No, we can't believe we're tweeting this either," read a tweet from the Philadelphia Police Department around 7 a.m.

Though, the situation may not be all that strange.

A bull that escaped from a Kensington slaughterhouse found itself face-to-face with officials after it wandered onto I-95 and the Vine Street Expressway just last November.

Unfortunately, the bull wasn't as fortunate as Stormy. The animal quickly earned itself some internet fandom and the nickname "Bullrambe" after it was shot and killed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Owens said the church has had cows as part of its live Nativity scene in the past, but this was Stormy's first year in the role.

"And to the individual or individuals who conceived this plan … you put people in danger by your reckless actions tonight," the church said in a statement on Facebook.