The Christmas season is just as wonderful as it is stressful and chaotic. While many families experience joyous gatherings with loved ones, others take a more extreme approach to holiday celebrations. To shed some light on some of the more insane, mind-boggling occurrences of the holiday season, we’ve curated this list of the craziest Christmas crimes in history. Although not all of these crimes took place on Christmas, the cheerful season is the intriguing throughline within each and every one of these five tales.
The Case Of The Drunken Christmas Float Driver–Columbia, South Carolina
The first story on our list of the craziest Christmas crimes takes us back 13 years. During the Anderson Christmas Parade in 2006, onlookers were in for quite a surprise. The celebration endured quite a ruckus when one of the floats broke formation and sped off down Main Street, with passengers still on top of the float. During the parade, 42-year old David Allen Rodgers was tasked with helming the aforementioned float. The float set voyage with multiple people atop it, including Rodgers’ own child.
It turns out that just before the event began, Rodgers began consuming alcohol, which police later discovered in his vehicle–opened and partially consumed. As mentioned before, Rodgers eventually broke formation during the parade and took his float speeding up the road and blasted right through a red traffic light. The frightening ordeal forced one of the people on board to call 911 for help. However, when the police arrived, Rodgers kept driving for three miles before pulling over.
Unfortunately, the chaos did not stop there. Once Rodgers pulled over, he attempted to assault a police officer at the scene. Eventually, he was subdued and faced with over three dozen charges which included DUI, assaulting an officer, and 18 counts of kidnapping. If a runaway Christmas float and 18 counts of kidnapping don’t equate to one of the craziest Christmas crimes of all time, then I don’t know what does.
The Case Of The Bank Robbing Santa Claus–Southern California
The next stop on our guide of craziest Christmas crimes dates back over 30 years. In mid-April, 1988, 45-year old Michael J. Anderson escaped from federal prison. Following his escape, Anderson went on a spree of robberies. He robbed around 33 Southern California banks before police finally arrested him in La Puente. Police were only able to locate him thanks to a tip from someone who recognized him from wanted posters which appeared in local newspapers at the time.
Anderson earned the moniker “The Santa Claus Bandit” because of his “long, grayish-white hair and the gray beard he wore during many of the robberies”. Upon arrival at the La Puente residence, police arrested both Anderson and the owner of the home, 40-year old Ernest Martinez. They arrested Anderson on robbery charges, as well as a federal arrest warrant. Martinez, on the other hand, was charged with violating his parole.
The Case Of The Ceramic Squirrel Stabbing–North Charleston, South Carolina
This next installment of our craziest Christmas crimes list may be the strangest one yet. Christmas Eve should be an evening of excitement and anticipation, right? Well, it certainly wasn’t for a South Carolina husband and wife during Christmas Eve 2013. On this night, 44-year old Helen Williams had a thirst for beer like never before. Unfortunately, Williams’ husband wasn’t able to purchase the beer because all of the stores were closed for the remainder of Christmas. According to Williams, what happened next was this–her husband slipped and cut himself, causing immense bleeding all over the house.
According to police, the reality is Williams attacked her husband in a fit of rage. Specifically, she used a ceramic squirrel to beat him over the head with, then proceeded to stab him in the shoulder and chest. Despite Williams’ claims that her husband had slipped and fallen, she apparently couldn’t give a straight answer as to why she was covered in his blood.
Thankfully, Williams’ husband survived the terrifying ordeal. Upon her arrest, Williams was charged with criminal domestic violence.
The Case Of The Fake Heart Attack–Lake Wales, Florida
Have you ever faked being sick to get out of work or school? Well, during the 2014 holiday season, one man took this idea to a whole new level. The man, otherwise known as 27-year old Gerard Dupree, was joined by 30-year old Tarus Scott to pull off a very strange heist at a Lake Wales Walmart. When the two men arrived at the location, they entered and placed three items into a shopping cart–One Leap Frog tablet, one Barbie car, and one Barbie Glam vacation house–all of which equated to around $369 worth of items.
While Scott remained with the cart full of Christmas gifts, Dupree approached one of the store’s exits. That’s when Dupree grabbed his chest and fell to the ground, faking a heart attack to distract security guards at the store. As all eyes were pointed at Dupree, Scott strolled right out the front door with the stolen items. Once Scott was clear, Dupree stood up, hand still on his chest, and walked out the front door. The dastardly duo then met up in the parking lot and drove off.
While it seemed the holiday heist had come to an end, their troubles had only just begun. Thanks to security surveillance cameras in and around the Walmart, the entire crime–from putting the items in the cart to driving away from the parking lot–was taped and saved for police to study later. Eventually, the two were arrested and charged with grand theft.
The Case Of The Ho-Ho-Home Invasion–Vandalia, Ohio
When most people think about home invasions, they think about an event similar to films like The Strangers or Assault on Precinct 13–a calculated group of creeps breaking into a building to terrorize the innocent folks within. This wasn’t the case in this 2011 home invasion case. When 44-year old Terry Trent broke into the Henderson household through their backdoor, he didn’t attempt to terrorize the homeowners.
Instead, Trent snuck in and lit candles on a coffee table and in the kitchen. He then began watching TV, turning the volume up high. This awoke the 11-year old boy sleeping upstairs. The boy came down and discovered Trent sitting on his couch watching TV after he had just hung a Christmas wreath on the family’s garage door.
Trent was apparently very polite to the boy. Specifically, the man said, according to Tamara Henderson: “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I’ll get my things and go”. The boy eventually called his mother, who ran over to the house and called 911.
The police arrived and arrested Trent, who put up no fight with the officers. Although he didn’t threaten anyone with a knife, police did later find a pocket knife on Trent. It turns out that not only was Trent high on bath salts at the time of the break-in, he also had a history with drug charges.
However, according to one of his co-workers, Trent was a good man who worked with the local Boy Scouts, as well as a local church program that was designed to help convicted felons who are currently in prison. That being said, the co-worker did elaborate on Trent’s behavior on the day of the break-in, which was described as “mentally unstable”. Ultimately, Trent was charged with burglary.
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