Santa returned to shop, happy to be "Ho ho home"

Posted at 8:36 AM, Dec 09, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-03 11:44:52-05

One day after police asked for help finding Santa after he was stolen from a West Seneca shop, the man in the red suit was returned with an anonymous note saying Santa had been in the North Pole but is now happy to be "Ho ho home."

On Monday, Marty Wagner, owner of Wagner's Body Works in West Seneca, found a wooden Santa Claus that has been in his family for decades had been stolen sometime over the weekend from the front of the store where it was hanging. Though it doesn't have monetary value, it means a lot to Wagner.

"It's been in the family over 40, 45 years," he explained. "My dad's friend made it. Handmade."

The Santa decoration has already survived a car crash into the Wagner's old house, and was recently rescued from a garage sale pile. Wagner saw that his mother was thinking of getting rid of it, and grabbed Santa to put him up at his business.

"It's been saved twice, now someone comes along and steals it. So hopefully three times is the charm, and they can get it back again," said West Seneca Police Officer Gregory Kinner.

"It's not worth anything," Wagner said. "It's just sentimental, been in the family. Put it behind my building at night.  I just want it back."

And someone heard Wagner's message. Santa was found leaning against the body shop on Seneca Street early Tuesday morning and taken to the police station for safe keeping until Wagner could come pick him up.

An anonymous note attached to the wooden figure said Santa had visited the North Pole and is now happy to be "Ho ho home."