Santa Saga: Cops not Buying Santa's Story, Slap Him With Kidnapping

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PARMA, OH (WOIO) - Parma Police have charged Anthony Russo with one count of kidnapping, abduction and criminal child enticement.

Wednesday morning, a 12-year old girl told police she was walking to school when a man - dressed in full Santa gear - came out of the bushes and told her to come over to him.

The incident reportedly happened in the vicinity of Snow Road and Stumph Roads.

A victim told police she avoided the strange Santa - identified as Anthony Russo - and continued walking in front of local businesses on Snow road. 46-year-old Russo followed her to the far west side of the plaza where he grabbed her arm. The victim pulled away but Russo grabbed her again by the arm. The victim pulled away a second time and walked quickly to the south side of the plaza with Russo continuing to follow. The victim entered a store, informed the owner as to what happened and Russo took off.

The Brookpark man fled the scene on a RTA bus which was located on West 130th and Lorain with the assistance of the RTA Police Department.

Russo was found to be wearing the Santa Claus clothing complete with his sack filled with candy canes. He also had another large box of candy canes with him and a unicycle with bells and Christmas decorations on it.

Russo is being held in the Parma Jail.

He is expected to be in court no later than Monday.

Anyone with information concerning this investigation is asked to contact Detective Kevin Riley of the Parma Police Department at 440-887-7344.

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