Santa and elf arrest suspects at Calif. shopping center

Undercover cops stopped both shoplifting suspects and suspects during an in-progress car theft

By Tim Balk
New York Daily News

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — They’re gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.

Cops undercover as Santa Claus and his elf stopped suspects in an in-progress car theft at a shopping center in Riverside, Calif., on Thursday, authorities said.

The cops dressed up in the merry outfits as part of “Santa’s Intervention,” an initiative to stem retail theft, and were joined by other detectives in the sting, according to the Riverside Police Department.

The department said the operation resulted in three arrests.

But as the intervention began to wind down, one of the undercover officers spotted a trio of men as they attempted to take off with a white Honda CR-V, authorities said. Santa and his elf jumped into action.

The elf arrested one suspect and Santa assisted as another suspect was detained, cops said.

The police department released a shaky 51-second video in connection with the arrests. At the end of the clip, Santa runs into the frame as a man in a sweatshirt tussles with an officer. Santa tackles the man.

“Get him, Santa!” a voice yells.

A third suspect in the auto theft fled the scene, according to authorities.

(c)2020 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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