He’s supposed to know when you’ve been naughty or nice – but even jolly old Saint Nick can find himself on the wrong side of the law from time to time.
From armed robberies to handing out drugs – and even stealing a helicopter – these stories show that Santa can be quite the badass when he wants to be.
Here we share five of the top crimes committed by people in Santa suits.
1. Santa Robs Bank to ‘Pay His Elves’
It costs a lot to run Santa’s Workshop each year – with elves working right around the clock to produce toys for girls and boys all around the world.
But in 2009, it seems that Santa fell on hard times, and he was spotted carrying out an armed bank robbery at the Sun Trust Bank, located in Hermitage, Tennessee.
According to witnesses, a man dressed in a Santa suit entered the bank at around 10am on the 22nd of December 2009.
A bank teller asked him to remove his sunglasses, but he refused – instead pulling out a gun from his sack.
He demanded money, telling the teller he needed it to ‘pay his elves,’ and was initially jolly and jovial.
But things took a sour turn when the imposter warned bank tellers he would come back and kill everyone if they put dye packs in the money.
Police later identified the suspect – 20-year-old local man David Cotton, who went on to commit another armed robbery on St Patrick’s day dressed as a leprechaun.
2. Stoner Santa Gives Away Free Weed
Santa is well known for his generosity– but he ran into a spot of bother early this year after handing out gifts of an illicit nature.
57-year-old Randy Lange was arrested at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Seaside, California, after staff and customers told police he was wrapping cannabis in napkins and handing it out for free, telling patrons he had a gift for them.
One employee was lucky enough to receive a napkin filled to the brim with the pungent green substance.
Mr Lange also generously left a large quantity of weed in the restaurant’s tip jar, presumably for good service.
Police arrived soon and searched his belongings, finding another two pounds of marijuana.
3. Burglar Santa
The legend of Santa Claus is based on the true story of St Nicholas; a Christian bishop who helped the needy.
But a Santa who was arrested on a Manhattan rooftop was anything but saintly.
26-year-old Curtis Moran was arrested on December 12 this year, after forcing his way into a New York apartment dressed as Santa and threatening to shoot the occupant.
While the victim hid in the bathroom, ‘Santa’ ransacked the unit, creating a huge mess in the process. The terrified homeowner emerged to find ‘clothes and objects thrown all over the place, and a broken glass.’
Mr Moran was charged with burglary – however the charge was reduced to trespassing.
4. Santa Steals a Helicopter
Santa’s herd of reindeer are known to fly the skies with sleigh in tow – but it seems his dedication forced Santa to resort to desperate measures after his reindeer took an early holiday this year.
A man dressed as Santa Claus decided to steal a helicopter from a Sao Paulo airport on the 29th of November this year.
According to police, the man held the pilot hostage, forcing him to fly and land at a small farm, where they were met by another person. Santa and his accomplice tied the pilot up before fleeing in the helicopter.
Police have appealed for information about the incident – but there have been no signs of the helicopter since.
5. Santa Arrested for Public Intoxication
One Santa got a bit too merry before being arrested for public intoxication at a Canadian shopping mall.
According to news reports, parents became concerned when Santa began slurring his speech and stumbling around. He was soon led away by store security, then arrested and charged with public intoxication.
According to one parent, ‘you could see he was clearly intoxicated, but no one was bold enough to say anything, and then finally someone had to call security and do something about it because it was looking really bad.’
Thankfully, the mall was able to arrange for another Santa to take over. A mall spokesperson said, ‘we take our responsibility of presenting Christmas traditions to families very seriously and we are extremely disappointed with this isolated incident.’