The holidays are upon us, and the end of 2012 means closing old files and preparing for a (better?) 2013, so I thought it would be fun to look at how crime sometimes takes on the tone of the holiday. Here are summaries of some cases I found on various news sites, along with my own observations on these holiday crimes.
Bad Elves: In Oregon, three teenagers approached a sidewalk Santa who was collecting funds for leukemia research. The “Santa” became involved when his daughter was diagnosed, and he wanted to contribute to the research efforts. The teens approached as if they were going to put money into Santa’s sack, but instead, one of the boys grabbed the sack and ran off down the road. When the story aired on a local CNN affiliate, neighbors and the community responded in true holiday spirit and replaced more than what was stolen.
“Watch out for that tree!” was a tag line from the old “George of the Jungle” cartoon series. But in Connecticut, a woman was arrested for throwing a Christmas tree at her parents during an argument. The parents were not injured by the tree or by the phone that was thrown immediately following. Since the phone was damaged, the parents were later unable to receive the call from their incarcerated daughter, in which she pleaded with them to bond her out so that they could be together for the holiday.
Beer Float: A man was arrested in South Carolina for drunk driving—while driving a float in a Christmas parade. The driver was speeding down Main Street with 19 unwilling passengers, and he led the police on a 3-mile “high speed” chase before he pulled over. He was cited for open container and driving under the influence. In court, he acknowledged that he had made a “terrible mistake” in judgment.
Poor Frosty: In Ohio, two teenagers were arrested and charged with stabbing a 12-foot inflatable Frosty with screwdrivers. “Why me?” asked the oversized snowman’s owner. “And why Frosty?”
Why indeed? What makes this story especially noteworthy, however, is not the nature or the subject of the crime, but the fact that this particular snowy gentleman had survived two prior stabbings. Prognosis for the balloon’s long-term recovery remains uncertain, but Frosty’s owner reports that the giant snowman is responding well to duct tape.
Missing Children: In Chicago, 32 replicas of the Christ-child were stolen from nativity scenes around the city. A woman awoke one morning to see all 32 plastic children lined up neatly along her fenced yard. She gathered them up and delivered them to her parish priest.
The Usual Suspects: In Sweden, a member of the Swedish Royal Palace was approached by two men dressed as “Father Christmas” in a restricted area. The guard was carrying a loaded and fully automatic assault rifle, but failed to realize the danger in time to deploy his weapon. The saintly bandits assaulted him and stole his weapon, then ran off. Police are searching for a sleigh that was seen in the vicinity and have rounded up several reindeer for questioning.
Holding the Bag: In California, an elderly woman walking her dog was accosted by a man who demanded that the woman give him “everything she had” or he would kick her dog. The woman gave the man the gift bag she was carrying and he ran off. The victim later told police that she had used the small plastic bag to pick up after her dog during their regular morning walk, and she was glad to give it to the young man. She even shouted “Merry Christmas!” to the fleeing robber.
Merry Christmas, indeed! And to all, a good night.