Auckland monastery sisters don't feel safe after Jesus statues stolen

The two beloved Jesus statues stolen from an Auckland monastery on Friday morning have been found.

Police are now searching for the robbers, but the sisters at the Carmelite Monastery say it's the latest in a string of burglaries and they're losing faith in the public.

The two thieves brazenly walked out with the two statues of Jesus just before morning prayers.

"I looked and I got a shock, it was gone," said Sister Johanna.

The largest statue had been at the monastery almost since it opened 83 years ago.

In a position of importance, it was the first thing visitors saw, a symbol of welcome to people of all denominations.

"Jesus, of course, is for everyone, not just us Catholics. His arms are outstretched as you saw in the photo of him being taken," the sister said.

The sisters say they no longer feel safe.

"It puts fear into the community. If they are capable of doing this, what else are they capable of doing? They can just do anything."

This is the second robbery in as many months. The sisters here have now bolted down their remaining statues and shortened their opening hours.  

"In September, it was huge, the amount that was taken."

Four statues, as well as rosaries and icons from their shop.

Sister Johanna says she recognises a woman from CCTV footage taken in September 

"It's the same woman, the one that came yesterday. She sort of knew what she was doing."

The robbers were in and out in four minutes.

Sisters at the monastery have received Facebook messages from people who recognised the robbers.

They've passed their names on to the police - but have a message for them, too.

"Follow your conscience, don't numb your conscience, because it'll prick you, you've got to do what is right."

It seems someone's conscience was pricked late today as both statues were recovered by police from a local cemetery. Both are damaged but the sisters are relieved they're home.