Santa Thief Comes Clean, and All Is Forgiven

He apologizes to store owner in South Carolina
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2022 9:10 AM CST
Santa Thief Comes Clean, and All Is Forgiven
A screen grab of the Santa theft.   (City of Greenville, SC)

Something close to a Grinch-like story has played out in South Carolina. A man in Greenville stole a Santa display, then later had a change of heart, returned, and apologized, reports Axios. As a result, restaurant owner Mayra Gallo says she won't be pressing charges. The unusual story began when Gallo showed up at her Bonjour Main restaurant Wednesday morning and discovered that somebody had made off with a stuffed Santa that was part of her outdoor holiday display. The city tweeted surveillance video of the Santa thief in action.

A few hours later, reporter Henry Coburn of 7News showed up to interview Gallo, only to discover that a man identified as "Melvin" was already there to confess to the theft and apologize, per the Washington Post. “She said, ‘He is here to apologize, so I told him if he wants me to accept the apology, he has to talk to the camera and come clean,'" Coburn wrote in a widely shared Twitter thread. Melvin did just that. “I’m sorry. Really sorry,” he told Coburn, adding that he had been out celebrating a friend's birthday and was drunk. “I know saying sorry doesn’t do anything, but I promise I’ll do better.”

Gallo accepted the apology, along with the bouquet of roses brought by Melvin. “He was really honest,” she tells the Post. “I believe him, and I think he’s sincerely sorry about it.” Melvin also helped her fix up the Santa display. “I’ll do anything I can to make things right, pay for any damages, fix anything I can, work for free,” he told Coburn. “I’ll literally do anything to resolve this situation in the most positive way possible.” (More weird crimes stories.)

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