Manassas Journal Messenger | Santa is missing, the search is on

Santa Claus could be face down in a gutter. He could be tied up with duct tape over his mouth.

As of right now, nobody knows, except that he’s not where he’s supposed to be.

Christmas may be in danger.

No, this is not a commercial for a movie on the Disney Channel, but the real life story of a Dale City couple that had their inflatable Santa Claus stolen from their yard just days before Christmas.

“It’s really sad someone would do this,” said Bonnie Turpen, of Omisol Road in Dale City, who, along with her husband Buddy, has had the inflatable Santa for four years. “I’d do anything to have him back.”

So far, Turpen has yet to get demands from the kidnappers for Santa’s safe return in what is the second Santa-napping case in Prince William County this holiday season.

All Turpen knows is that when she went to bed Sunday night, Santa was on top of the hill in her yard that overlooks Omisol Road where he spends each holiday season.

When she woke up he was gone.

The Santa was connected to a light sensor and would pop up each night when the sun went down.

Then one night he didn’t pop up and Turpen became worried.

“I’m just trying to think who could have done this,” Turpen said. “Our neighborhood is just a big loop and no one who doesn’t live here has no reason to come down here.”

Turpen put up flyers in her neighborhood hoping for Santa’s safe return. So far, though, no luck.

“It’s sad because my father bought this four years ago and he has since passed away,” Turpen said. “Santa always reminded me of him and it’s sad that’s he gone now.”

Turpen can take solace in the story of Jim Conroy, a Manassas man who had a Snoopy Santa stolen from his yard, only for it to be returned after a woman saw a mention of it in the Manassas Journal Messenger.

Beverly Wampler saw Snoopy’s theft mentioned in a newspaper article and called Conroy on Sunday, saying she saw it in a neighbor’s yard. Conroy identified it and reclaimed Snoopy.

This came, though, after an unidentified person left a new Snoopy Santa on his doorstep to replace the old one, giving Conroy two Snoopys.

“I have more respect for a bank robber than someone who would steal a Christmas ornament from someone’s yard,” Conroy said. “I think it shows that there are some really good people out there who will look out for you when something goes wrong.”

Conroy put up a poster in his neighborhood to “the scumbags that stole my Snoopy,” calling for his return.

Turpen hopes the same good fortune will find her.

She believes her Santa Claus was stolen by some college kids out for a good time and hopes they return it without harming it.


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