Earlier this week, New Times gave the lowdown on where to find Miami's best mall Santas. The search wasn't easy and involved sitting on multiple laps, but it was relatively family-friendly. However, that's not always the case when dealing with these chubby, white-bearded types. After all, Florida attracts eccentrics, criminals, and crazies of all stripes and sizes — why should Santa be an exception?
With Christmas just days away, we thought it appropriate to put together a roundup of the Sunshine State's more infamous Clauses. Nice Santa will snap a photo with your toddler or thank you for the cookies, but Bad Santa just might break into your home or tie you to a domination rack. In Florida, you really never know what you'll get.
1. A Santa lookalike fends off cops with a handful of poop. Things got messy in 2014 when an Okaloosa County Sheriff's deputy spotted a man who looked like the spitting image of Saint Nick wandering in the same waterside park from which he'd been banned after previous arrests. The man refused to comply with his arrest, to which the officer responded by pulling out his Taser. That's when things got weird. The Santa doppelgänger wasn't a rebel without a cause. In fact, he claimed to have a very good reason for resisting.
"I can't put my hands behind my back because I'm making a bowel movement," he said, according to a police report. To prove his point, he shoved his hands down his shorts and then showed his fecal handiwork to the cop. The cop ended up calling for backup, prompting the soiled Santa clone to cooperate.
2. A middle-school teacher set to play Santa during the holidays was arrested for child pornography. Just one week before Christmas in 2010, police converged on the home of a teacher at Paul W. Bell Middle School, located in West Miami-Dade, to seize his personal laptop, on which they found more than 50 pornographic images of children. The man had taught at the school for 11 years and had been set to dress as Kris Kringle during the holidays. Instead, he was charged with 30 counts of possession of child pornography.
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3. A Christmas-tree-selling Santa offers a glimpse at the seedy underbelly of the holiday business. It all began in 2010, when one Santa-clad tree salesman set up shop at NE 108th Street and Biscayne Boulevard. Then things got heated. A second Santa and his boss began to blast holiday music through a 100-amp receiver to drown out carols being sung by the first Santa until the cops showed up and told them to stop or risk going to jail. The bad blood apparently began when former workers at the first tent, run by ex-North Miami Mayor Ken Burns, claimed they were owed unpaid wages. Apparently, the tree-selling business is tough to quit, because they ended up working for one of Burns' closest competitors. Burns, it turns out, had a long history of allegedly failing to pay folks for work. More Scrooge than Santa, if you ask us.
4. Scary Mary Santa encourages little helpers to let their freak flags fly in her Fort Lauderdale dominatrix dungeon. Try saying that five times fast and then be sure to read the following slowly. At first glance, the only Santa-like thing about Scary Mary Santa is her last name, but take a closer look at her and the hidden establishment she runs (or at least ran as of 2013) off North Dixie Highway, and you begin to see the similarities. Scary Mary is an enterprising dominatrix who runs her own dungeon (AKA workshop) where she invites little helpers to confess to being naughty or nice. Mary swears by the fact that everyone has a fetish and makes a point of discovering it, no matter what it takes. So, no potbelly and white facial hair here, but extend enough charity and Christmas spirit, and it all makes sense.
5. A rooftop burglar in Broward County shows us what it would be like if Santa used his Christmas powers for evil. Perhaps this is what that song "Santa Baby" was really about: a muscular but clumsy burglar sliding down shafts to ransack homes and leaving more damage than the value of the things he stole.
"He's pretty fit — has nice biceps," Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Keyla Concepción told New Times at the time. "What I'm getting at is he's pretty strong and is just like a cat — he just climbs the wall and goes through the vents." The so-called Rooftop Burglar flummoxed BSO deputies while committing at least seven burglaries at the time of New Times' report in 2011. Talk about a bad Santa.