- The Washington Times - Monday, December 20, 2004

VENTURA COUNTY STAR

OXNARD, Calif. — Police were dispatched to the large Santa Claus statue in Oxnard after shots were fired at it.

Officers found five bullet holes marring the jolly face of old St. Nick. Five 9 mm casings were lying on the street nearby, police said.

Mike Barber, Santa’s caretaker, said the gunshots shattered the lenses on Santa’s glasses and broke the frames. He and a friend used screws, glue and wire to patch the frames back together.

“A week before Christmas. This is totally unacceptable,” Mr. Barber said. “You’ve got to be a pretty strange individual to want to shoot Santa Claus.”

The 20-foot plaster Santa statue, which weighs nearly 5 tons, was moved in January 2003 from Santa Barbara County to the lot on Ventura Boulevard. The statue had stood for 50 years on top of a malt shop and candy store near Carpinteria.

• Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.

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