Down here in Australia, we celebrate Christmas with BBQ’s, backyard cricket, platters of cold seafood and salad, and baking ourselves under the sizzling sun at the local beach. Throw in some cold beers, crickets frantically chirping, outrageous bushfires, and 40+ degree days, and that’s our festive season in a (chest)nut shell.
No matter whether you’re an Aussie burning the soles of your feet on searing sand, or sipping hot cocoa in the northern hemisphere while watching children outside create lopsided snowmen, pour yourself some egg nog and have a read…
- In 300 metres follow the North Star
United States, 2007 – A Baby Jesus disappeared from a Nativity scene set out on the lawn of a community centre in Florida. The village officials however were one step ahead. A GPS device mounted inside the life-size ceramic figurine led the police to a nearby apartment, where the figurine was found face down on the carpet. An 18-year-old woman was arrested for theft.
Sadly, this wasn’t the first time the community centre had been relieved of its prized piece, but their response by planting the GPS system clearly paid off.
- Just what I always wanted!
United States, 2012
“What do you want for Christmas son? A bike? A video game? A football?”
“No dad, I’d love a python or two.”
“No problem son.”
And so it goes, 31-year-old father, Donald Laigast Jr., decided to get his son a few snakes from the local pet store as a Christmas present for his son.
But Donald had no cash, so he stole them. Police found the snakes in a vacant building not far away, right beside Donald’s jail ID card. I guess he’ll need that card a little longer.
- Devil of a Grinch
Canada, 2012 – A 24 year old man, who’d obviously had too much to drink, tried his best to spoil the hopes and joy of as many children as possible.
At the annual Santa Claus parade in Ontario, Canada, the inebriated Grinch roamed the area, telling every child he crossed paths with that Santa was a dud!
To top it off, he’d carved out a wedge of gel, slicked his hair back, and formed two little devil horns on his greasy scalp.
The police intervened and arrested the man for being a pain in the ass (aka public disturbance) and public drunkenness. For good measure, they threw in a probation violation. He attended a bail hearing the following day and was released on the condition that he no longer filled his stomach with alcohol.
- Deck a stranger’s hall
United States, 2011 – In Ohio, Terry Trent decided to get high off of some bath salts. The Christmas spirit went well and truly up his nose and fried his brain.
To revel in this hazy spirit, he broke into a house and erected Xmas decorations, before lighting some candles, taking up residence on the lounge and soaking up the buzz. He turned the TV and settled in for the night.
When an 11-year-old boy returned home to find the stranger, he rang his mother, who rang the cops.
Trent was charged with burglary.
- Screw you Frosty
United States, 2006 – In Cincinnati, two extremely bored teenagers decided to take to a 12-foot inflatable snowman, which the homeowners named ‘Frosty’, with a screwdriver.
The owners might not have earned any points for creativity, but they didn’t deserve to see their big snowman vandalized. However, having learnt from previous attacks on the big decoration, the owner had installed a motion sensor security camera and caught the two perps on video.
The men were caught and charged with criminal damage. Meanwhile, ‘Frosty’ was patched up for the third time with duct tape.
- Jingle Balls
United States, 2005 – In Massachusetts, a man donned a Santa Claus outfit and headed for the local mall. He then proceeded to drop his large red pants for everyone to see his candy cane.
He did it several more times before being arrested for disorderly conduct.
- Post a letter to Santa
Australia, 2014 – Santa Claus obviously wasn’t happy with the speediness of Australia Post and wanted to collect all the children’s letters himself.
The jolly red man waltzed into a Melbourne post office and threw his sack on the counter demanding it be filled. The impatient Santa then jumped the counter and filled the sack with money, clearly forgetting the children’s letters which I’m sure he initially went in there for.
The 6ft tall Santa dumped his reindeer and fled in a Jeep, ironically right before Jeep launched their new television ads featuring Santa exclaiming to the surprised Mrs. Claus that he ‘bought a jeep’.
The large man remains at large…
- Seeing double
Sweden, 2012 – Early Christmas morning, two brazen men decided to both dress up as Santa Claus and steal a gun from a guard at the Royal Palace. The guard clearly wasn’t alert to the fact that there is only one Santa, as he was overpowered and had his automatic AK-5 rifle nicked.
- Keep away from the presents!
United States, 2006 – A young boy was sooooo keen to get stuck into his new video games, that he opened his present a few weeks early, despite orders from his great-grandmother not to.
He clearly mistook the ‘Game Boy Advance’ as meaning he could open it in advance. But his mother had lost all her Christmas spirit and was fed up with his behaviour.
So what did she do? Rather than take the video game console off her son, which would be my first move, she called the cops.
The boy was charged with petty larceny.
- Decorate the decorations
United States, 2007 – When two men walked their dog one evening, they stopped to let the canine relieve itself. Problem was, it urinated on some Christmas decorations placed outside the trailer of 28 year old Ethel McKinney, who didn’t take kindly to the peeing puppy.
She stormed outside, argued with the animal owners about the decorations, and clearly didn’t get the outcome she wanted because she ended up shooting them both.
Luckily both men survived with minor injuries, however Ethel was charged with attempted second-degree murder, and her boyfriend who also joined the fracas, was charged with aggravated assault and disturbing the peace.
- High-ho high-ho!
England, 2011 – Ian Richards had a small hydroponic setup in his apartment. When police officers searched his house around Christmas, they noticed the Christmas tree looked a little odd, and didn’t smell at all like pine needles.
The festive red and green Christmas baubles didn’t quite disguise the fact that it was a cannabis tree, and the police also weren’t in a festive mood.
Richards claimed it was strictly for self-use but the Bobbies didn’t buy it, and he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
- Floating drunk
United States, 2006 – In the small town of Anderson, South Carolina, David Rodgers got behind the wheel drunk, drove through a red light, and led police on a chase for several miles. Doesn’t sound that odd, and what’s it got to with Christmas?
Well, David was driving a float in a Christmas parade. And when he got stuck behind a tractor, he decided it was going too slow so he overtook it and continued speeding. To top Rodgers’ irresponsibility off, one of his own children was on the float at the time.
The police understandably threw the book at him, charging him with kidnapping, DUI, assaulting a police officer, running a red etc. Fair to say he was crossed off Santa’s ‘good’ list.
- Sack full of goodies
Australia, 2012 – Over the course of 9 days surrounding Christmas Day, two men in Cairns, Queensland, treated themselves to all sorts of Christmas goodies. They looted business and homes, stole 5 cars, and grabbed themselves $100,000 worth in the process. They weren’t subtle about it either, smashing their way through a fence of one property, and attempting to disguise the vehicles in house paint.
It didn’t work. Three days later the men were arrested and faced court on 86 separate charges.
Santa Claus returned most of the goods to their rightful owners.
Stay tuned for Part II…..