While most of us spend the holiday season trying to do good—or at least trying to avoid doing evil—some people have it out for the Christmas spirit. Here are a few cases where someone can expect to find coal in their stocking.
Location: Washington, D.C.
Details: Early Tuesday morning, a man dressed as Santa Claus was shot in the back with a pellet gun while giving away toys. Sadly, this does not appear to have been a Christmas Story-style accident: ABC 7's Kris Van Cleave tweeted that "Officers on scene believe pellet gun shots came from a 2nd story window." Thankfully, Santa does not appear to have been seriously harmed—in fact, true to his jolly nature, he wanted to continue giving away toys. Cooler heads prevailed, however. Santa was taken to a nearby hospital; a man dressed as The Grinch, of all people, gave away the rest of the toys.
Location: Tampa, Florida
Details: This one is just plain heartbreaking. FOX 13 reports that thieves broke into a Tampa, Fla. home and not only took presents from under the tree, they stole the family dog, too. Local police stepped up and replaced the presents, which were intended for a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old, but everyone knows there's no replacing man's best friend.
Location: Pasadena, California
Details: Last week a bold group of thieves broke into a family's home in broad daylight, stole presents from underneath the tree, and snatched a pair of urns. The men were caught on camera fleeing the scene; it's unclear why they decided to take the urns. Regardless, the family is heartbroken. Griffin Gmelichs told NBC Los Angeles that "They literally stole my mom and dad."
Location: Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Details: On Monday night, one of the Salvation Army's iconic red kettles was stolen from a Pick 'N' Save grocery store. According to Fox 6, kettle theft appears to be a growing problem in Wauwatosa: a thief apparently attempted to steal a kettle from a Sam's Club earlier in the day. It's unclear why one of the attempts succeeded and the other failed: there's nothing in Fox 6's report to indicate how secure the respective kettles were, or if they were attended at the time of the robberies. The robbery comes at a bad time for the Salvation Army, which is anticipating a relatively tight Christmas season: "A later Thanksgiving did impact the Christmas campaign and now a robbery," Major Dan Jennings, Salvation Army Divisional Commander for Wisconsin & Upper Michigan, told Fox 6. "We are concerned, but remain hopeful."
Location: London, England
Details: Last week, a woman walked into a shelter for "vulnerable adults" and walked out with a Christmas tree. The tree, which was adorned with garland and a silver star, had been donated by a staff member. Police Constable Lorna Clark expressed her disgust at the theft: "This is a particularly callous crime especially at this time of year involving some of our more vulnerable members of society."
Location: Holley-Navarre, Florida
Details: A woman armed with a handgun held up a Tom Thumb grocery store in Holley-Navarre on Monday night. According to ABC 3, the woman "demanded cash, apologized, and told the cashier Merry Christmas."
Crime: "Reggae Christmas" by Bryan Adams
Details: OK, this one isn't exactly recent. But that doesn't make it any less heinous.
As of this writing, no one has been arrested in conjunction with any of these crimes. Stay safe, everyone.