Santa Claus Arrested With Crack Pipe - Opposing Views

Santa Claus Arrested With Crack Pipe

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A volunteer Santa Claus for Toys for Tots has been arrested after police say they discovered a crack pipe and empty drug bags in his car.

Charles Smith, 66, of Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, was arrested after an officer spotted drug paraphernalia in his vehicle while pulling him over for a traffic stop at 2 a.m. on Nov. 6 in South Hackensack, according to Fox News. Smith wasn't wearing his Santa suit at the time of his arrest, but had one with him, police said.

In Smith's car, the officer found a crack pipe, along with hypodermic needles and empty bags for crack and heroin, reports WGHP.

Smith was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and later released.

A Facebook page that South Hackensack Police Capt. Robert Kaiser said belongs to Smith showed photos of the man in a Santa costume, including one of Smith posing with Marines in 2016.

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Smith's role with Toys for Tots was unpaid, and after the organization learned of Smith's arrest, the group cut ties with him, the New York Post reports.

"Once this came to light, he was fired," said Bergen County Toys for Tots spokesman Brian Murray, who added that Smith is "no longer welcome back" to work with the group.

"He's a druggie," added Murray. "He doesn't need to be around children. He did what he did -- so he's done."

Despite Smith being fired, parents still had concerns about the incident.

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"Kids have sat in [his] lap," said Hackensack dad Fernando Colon. "We don't know who these people are, and are trusting out kids with them for a few minutes."

In Missouri on the same day, a Santa was arrested after he was accused of molesting a young girl, Tribune Media Wire reports.

Anthony Hall, 36, was arrested on Nov. 6 and charged with child molestation after he allegedly abused a 6-year-old girl. Hall had been known for dressing up as Santa, and had even posed for a Christmas photo with the police department in 2014.

"People with these tendencies gravitate toward areas where children are accessible and available," said Garden City Police Chief Thomas Alber. "They're tough cases; they're cases that hit many people right in the heart."

According to investigators, the young girl and her mother were living with Hall when the abuse took place. The girl is reported to have told her mother about the abuse, but told her not to tell anyone.

Hall and the victim's mother initially denied the allegations, but their accounts changed when they were shown pictures the girl had drawn for investigators to illustrate the crime.

"Children go through special interviews with specially trained forensic investigators," noted Alber.

Hall reportedly admitted that he had previously been accused of inappropriate sexual contact with his own three children.

Alber said he was grateful that Hall was off the streets.

"Especially being the beginning of November where people begin to book Christmas parties that might be employing this individual and allowing him access to more children," said the chief.

Sources: WGHP, Fox News, New York Post, Tribune Media Wire via WGNO / Featured Image: Torbakhopper/Flickr / Embedded Images: WGHP, Vassilis/Flickr

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