Police in the US city of San Diego are hunting for a man who was dressed as Jesus Christ when he coward punched an officer during rowdy Halloween celebrations.

Police say the incident occurred around 1am in the city's downtown area when the man approached police while they were arresting another man who had been kicked out of a nearby bar.

Police report that the man struck an officer in the face in what they described as an "ambush", noting that they were not sure if the man punched or used his elbow.

The officer suffered a small laceration that required stitches but is expected to make a full recovery.

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The Smoking Gub website reported that the police described the suspect as "a white male, 6'-00" to 6'-02" in a white robe, red sash, possibly with a fake beard and wig".

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Local news station KGTV showed video of police speaking with a man in a similar costume at the scene, though it's not clear if this is the man involved in the attack.

Back in New Zealand, Jesus was the victim of crime over the weekend, when two statues of the Messiah were stolen from an Auckland monastery.

Photos of the suspected thieves were shared on social media after the nuns at the Carmelite Monastery in Royal Oak shared them to Facebook, leading to a public outcry and the dumping of the statues in a cemetery.

Sister Miriam of the Carmelite Monastery said the hands of the larger Sacred Heart Jesus statue were smashed, and the top of the smaller Infant Jesus of Prague statue was also broken.

"They must've dumped [them] when they'd seen all the publicity," she said. "We have a sister that is very good at mending statues."

"I am just so grateful for the public response, I feel [we] have uncovered the mystery."

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Police confirmed they will be making follow-up inquiries in relation to the theft.