An undercover Santa and an elf took down suspected thieves in a wild video Friday.

The video shows Santa Claus tackling a suspect while an elf holds another man at gunpoint.

Det. Paul Miranda was one of several Riverside police officers working undercover Thursday at Target in the Canyon Springs Shopping Center.

“We worked inside the store, identified shoplifters and when they split the scene, Santa was there to take them into custody,” Miranda said.

Santa is a detective and his trusty sidekick elf, an officer. Both jumped into action when Miranda spotted a car being stolen from the parking lot as two other men ran from the scene.

The elf cornered one very perplexed suspect.

“When I looked over my shoulder I saw Santa running by me going after the second subject,” Miranda said.

The driver got away but detectives say they know who he is.

As for the other two suspected thieves…

“They were apologetic and Santa is currently deciding whether they stay on the naughty list,” Miranda said,

Three shoplifters were caught by police and their holiday helpers, but none as memorable as the tackle caught on camera.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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