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The 12 crimes of Christmas

A boy wearing a santa hat looking out of a rainy window
Image: Pixabay

It’s that time of year again. We don’t mind the odd mince pie or roast potato here at Crime + Investigation, but we’ll be honest - we’re much more interested in, well, crime.

Given it’s the festive period, we’ve decided to come up with a little Christmas carol for you, so… Enjoy!

On the first day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me…A stolen Nativity baby!

Christmas 2021 saw a truly shocking crime that rocked the Lancashire city of Preston. Truly callous thieves broke into Preston’s famous Flag Market and vandalised the Nativity scene. The Christmas-hating criminals didn’t stop there. They stole the statue of little Jesus Christ.

You’ll be relieved to learn that the baby Jesus was found soon after and safely returned to his manger.

On the second day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me…A Santa Claus bank robbery!

Meet the Santa who put the ‘con’ in SantaCon. In scenes that sound like they’ve come straight from an especially daft film, one clever thief used San Francisco’s annual SantaCon event to pull off the perfect crime.

Every year, thousands of Californians dress as Saint Nick and frolic about San Fran. So what better identity-obscuring disguise to adopt when you’re a bank robber? In 2014, a man walked into a Union Square bank, handed over a note demanding money and then slipped back out on the street with a sack of cash instead of presents for children.

On the third day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me…A cannabis ‘Christmas tree’!

When Chilean police arrested 50-year-old Angelica Navarro Pereira back in 2014, they seized £2,500 in cash, 20 cannabis plants, two shotguns and 29 bags of Class A drugs. So it should have come as little surprise to Angelica's friends and family when she bragged about having the best Christmas tree in the world. It turned out that the tree was nothing more than a very large cannabis plant.

When police seized it, it had little gift-wrapped presents underneath and everything. This was less of a white Christmas and more of a green Christmas. One Ms. Pereira spent behind bars.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me…A float driven after drinking Chablis!

Police arrested a man drink-driving down Main Street in Columbia, South Carolina back in 2006. Not a hugely unusual crime, you might think.

The pursuit lasted for more than three miles before police finally caught up with David Allen Rogers. Which is surprising, given he was driving a giant Christmas float. We forgot to mention: this was during the annual Columbia Christmas parade. Onboard were 18 kids from a local dance school, including Mr. Rogers’ very own son.

He ended up facing more than 35 separate charges, including drink-driving, 18 counts of kidnapping and assaulting a police officer. Not really in the Christmas spirit.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me…A man squashing a Nativity donkey!

Christmas is all about the exploits of a large jolly man. But we much prefer the idea of Father Christmas delivering presents than a 23-stone Spaniard crushing a five-month-old donkey to death after trying to ride it.

The incident, which happened in the town of Lucena, caused outrage at the time as a photograph of the grinning idiot went viral. Animal rights groups were understandably outraged on learning that the young donkey - too small to be ridden - died of its injuries. The authorities became involved, but the case was dropped for a ‘lack of evidence’, despite millions seeing the image online.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me…A Santa burglar stuck in a chimney!

It makes sense to enter by the chimney if you're planning to rob a house while disguised as Santa, right? In an effort to break into a Seattle home, one burglar employed this very logic. Trouble is, he got stuck in the chimney and ended up requiring assistance from the local fire brigade.

The hapless criminal claimed that he was only attempting to get his rucksack back, but the cops didn't buy the excuse. He was given a 17-month prison sentence.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me…A poinsettia scam in Italy!

It’s tempting to think that the mafia in Italy only concern themselves with classy, high-level crimes. That’s not the case, though, they’ll get involved in anything illegal that’s worth a few Euros. Including poinsettia extortion.

Camorra thugs will visit the shops of Naples and force shopkeepers to pay 100 Euros per poinsettia. Any that refuse the offer see their shops badly vandalised.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me…A nicked Rudolph ornament that’s very heavy!

On 12th December 2014, a statue of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer weighing 14 stone (89 kg) was stolen from a Los Angeles street sign. For 50 years, the monument had served as a seasonal landmark in the Rolling Hills Estates neighbourhood in the South Bay.

Police investigated a tip a few days after the crime and discovered the wooden figure on the roof of a nearby mobile home. The individual at the residence was detained for the theft. He was identified as a gardener who performed his duties near the scene of the statue's disappearance.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me…Gifts containing 30 lbs of wacky-baccy!

What’s the weirdest Christmas gift you’ve ever been given? Is it weirder than 30 lbs of cannabis? During a routine traffic stop a few years back, Ohio State Highway Patrol officers reported discovering the marijuana haul disguised as wrapped Christmas presents.

The patrol said that after stopping a BMW SUV on the Ohio Turnpike for failing to travel in defined lanes, a drug-sniffing dog signalled to troopers that there were drugs in the car. Authorities estimated the marijuana’s value at roughly $200,000.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me… A Santa Claus-denying daddy!

During a Santa Claus procession in Kingston, Ontario back in 2012, a 24-year-old dad was detained by police after informing all the kids that The Big Man wasn't real.

Additionally, the man's hair was gelled in a way that made it ‘specifically and distinctively looked like devil horns protruding from his head’.

He was ultimately charged by the police with public intoxication, causing a disturbance by being drunk and breach of probation.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me…A handful of snakes burglary!

Christmas 2012. The owner of Delta Pets in Slidell, Louisiana, discovered their rear door had been forced open and called police to the scene. The cash register, a $600 Ball Python and two Boa snakes were all missing.

Donald Laigast Jr. was later detained and charged with one count of burglary. Laigast said that he had broken into Delta Pets and taken the snakes to give to his son for Christmas.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true crime sent to me…A Home intruder who put up a tree!

We end with a nice Christmassy crime. Well, sort of. It involves a home invasion, but still. A burglar, who was high on bath salts, entered a home and began putting up holiday decorations.

After doing some Christmas decoration around the property, Terry Trent was caught lounging on the sofa by a child who lived there. Trent was then apprehended and charged with burglary.

According to the police, Trent entered the house by one of the rear entrances, made himself at home, lit candles on the kitchen and coffee tables, and turned up the television's volume to its maximum. Not only that but Trent had put a festive wreath up on the door and everything.