Santa Claus is coming in full force this holiday season. In addition to his regular job gifting presents to kids around the world, he’s also fighting crime.
Cops at the Riverside police department created the new program called “Santa’s Intervention.” The idea behind the initiative is to successfully capture criminals while the undercover cops pretend to be jolly old Saint Nick.
The policemen station themselves just outside the entrance to a mall in the Riverside area.
We can thank the Riverside police department for the unconventional idea. The main intention of the project is to catch unsuspecting shoplifters who are lurking about during the Christmas season.
First, the team set up video surveillance inside at Target store within the Canyon Springs shopping center. Simultaneously, the undercover Santa waits outside before receiving the heads up.
The police department responsible for implementing the creative idea posted on Facebook saying, “As the suspects exited the store with merchandise they just stole, Santa and his elf were waiting to take them into custody for the theft.”
Santa Cop Works to Catch Shoplifters
The program began in December 2020 when they became aware of suspects trying to steal an old white Honda CR-V. The shoplifters tried running away once they saw the cops were on their case.
According to the police report, “One suspect resisted arrest but was taken into custody with the help of our undercover Santa, and the second was detained by the undercover elf.”
The last suspect got away driving the stolen vehicle. But not before the cops found the Honda nearby unattended with the driver nowhere in sight.
The police took to Facebook saying they’ve identified the suspect and are currently on the hunt for him.
“Changes in property crime laws within the recent years have contributed to increases in retail theft and shoplifting,” said Detective Everth Bercian.
“Theft of merchandise totaling less than $950 is only a misdemeanor, and any arrest made whether it’s a felony or misdemeanor, results in little to no consequences for these crimes.”
Additionally, cops were able to successfully detain a few folks who stole high-value items.
Suspects included a 55-year-old man named Patrick Seilsopour. Seilsopour stole “expensive Lego toy sets totaling $1,000 and was [caught] outside by Santa and his elf for grand theft.”
Another shoplifter skipped over attempting to pay for their items which led to their arrest. The undercover cops searched the accused which they found to be in possession of illegal narcotics.
Another arrest consisted of catching “a local transient who is a habitual thief at this particular store.” Police successfully stopped the man before he could attempt stealing again.
The jury is still out on whether Santa will return to fight crime in 2021.