You'd Better Watch Out... Santa Claus Takes Down Mafia Suspect in Sicily

Santa Claus can do it all: deliver presents, climb down chimneys, fly through the Christmas sky in his sleigh. And, as it happens, he can also make arrests. On Thursday, he busted a suspected member of the Sicilian mafia.

Santa knows if you've been naughty or nice. And sometimes he carries handcuffs.
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Santa knows if you've been naughty or nice. And sometimes he carries handcuffs.


Santa Claus, as every child is aware, knows if you've been naughty or nice. In Italy, apparently, Santa also knows if you are a member of the mafia. And he might arrest you if you're not careful.

That, at least, would appear to be the lesson of a rather unusual arrest in the Sicilian town of Catania. A policeman dressed in a Santa Claus outfit was part of a Thursday sting operation to apprehend a suspected member of the appropriately named Santapaola mafia clan. The 37-year-old suspect was nabbed as he came out of a store where he was thought to have collected monthly protection money. The store's owner had allegedly been forced to pay €260 per month for the past 10 years.

The suspected mafioso had been under observation for several weeks. The undercover Santa was waiting in the parking lot carrying a basket full of sweets -- which he carefully placed on the roof of the suspect's car as he made the arrest.

According to media accounts of the arrest, the shopkeeper gave Santa a big hug following the arrest.

cgh -- with wire reports

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