Stolen 16-Foot Santa Returned With Apology and $100

A reward poster for an inflatable Santa and penguins stolen from an Indiana man. On Sunday, the Santa was returned with $100 and a note of apology. (Photo credit: Jason McClaren)

An Indiana man had some of his faith in the holiday spirit stolen from him when his 16-foot Santa and two 6-foot inflatable penguins were swiped from his property last week. But at 5 a.m. on Saturday, Jason McClaren awoke to his longtime girlfriend Abbie telling him there was a large black bag in the driveway.

McClaren pulled his car up to the bag in the dark and shone the headlights on the large lump. When he opened the bag, he was surprised to find his missing Santa, $100 and a note of apology.

The note began with “Dear Jason” and read:

“Within this package is your Santa as well as some money to help buy decorations for your home. Returning your property is the right thing to do, and apologies for the thief who took it in the first place. Hopefully this can help to remedy any issues this caused you and your family. Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays.”

McClaren was shocked. He had made fliers and offered a $400 reward for the missing items, but didn’t expect the decorations to be returned.

“We got it back. It’s the same one,” he told “There’s one little hole in the head, but it’s holding air.”

The two penguins, however, are still missing in action.

McClaren has had items stolen from him in the past and has four surveillance cameras on his property. The cameras were off the night the Santa and penguins were stolen and the cameras did not capture the return of the Santa.

“The holiday season is about giving and caring,” McCarlen said. “It’s surprising that someone would come up here and take it, let alone on Christmas.”

He has ordered an additional 12 cameras and has no plans to stop putting his decorations out.

“We’re going to keep doing it,” McClaren said. “In today’s age, everyone’s got surveillance and eventually you’ll get caught or someone will speak up.”

McClaren said his 2-year-old son Trey had been upset when the large Santa disappeared from the family’s lawn, but was excited when he saw it back in its rightful place.

“He got out of the truck and he didn’t know it was there and said, ‘Santa back,’” McClaren said with a laugh.

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