Two undercover police officers, dressed as Santa Claus and an elf, stopped suspected car thieves at a shopping centre in California.
The Riverside Police Department said in a Facebook post that the cops were part of an operation dubbed “Santa’s Intervention”, to curb retail theft during the holiday season.
“Retail theft dramatically increases during the holiday shopping season and our detectives have been taking a proactive approach toward these crimes through this enforcement program dubbed ‘Santa’s Intervention,” the post read.
According to the Facebook post, the police officer and detective spotted three men allegedly trying to steal a white Honda CR-V in a parking lot of a Canyon Springs shopping centre.
Take a look here:
Footage posted by the police department’s YouTube channel shows the officer dressed as Santa Claus slamming a suspect to the ground, while the officer in the elf costume arrests another one at gunpoint.
Many who came across the post lauded the officers for their efforts. Take a look at some of the reactions here:
As per the post, the operation also saw three other arrests. One arrest was of a woman with a shopping cart full of stolen items. She was also in possession of illegal narcotics.
Another arrest involved a local who is reportedly a habitual thief at this particular store. Officers recognized him as he entered the store but stopped him before he could steal again. He was subsequently arrested for trespassing and being in possession of illegal narcotics.
The third arrest was of 55-year-old Patrick Seilsopour. He stole expensive Lego toy sets totalling $1,000 and was arrested outside by Santa and his elf for grand theft.
Detectives with the Riverside Police Department’s Property Crimes Unit were assisted by officers from the School Resource Officer Unit.