DOCUMENT: Bizarre, Crime

Bad Santa Collared

Cops: Costumed Ohio man tried to abduct 12-year-old girl

Anthony Russo

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Bad Santa Collared

DECEMBER 9--An Ohio man dressed as Santa Claus and carrying a red sack brimming with candy canes was arrested this morning after he allegedly tried to abduct a 12-year-old girl.

According to cops, Anthony Russo, 46, was hiding in the bushes adjacent to a Parma intersection when he directed the girl, who was walking to school, to come to him. When the child continued walking, Russo twice grabbed her arm, though the girl broke free and eventually sought help from a business owner.

Russo fled the scene on a city bus, but was subsequently confronted by cops, who arrested him after a brief struggle. Along with his red sack (which was emblazoned "Merry Christmas'), Russo, pictured in the Parma Police Department mug shot at left, was carrying a large box of candy canes and a unicycle decorated with a red bow. Police evidence photos of Russo's costume (which included a hat and pillow) and Santa props can be found here.

Russo is being held at the Parma jail as cops investigate the bizarre incident, according to a police press release. (6 pages)