WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The big open space on the front of Marty Wagner’s auto shop is where he had hung a big wooden Santa, Friday morning, but by the next day it was gone.
“I get a phone call from my mom Saturday night saying, ‘where’s Santa?’ I said, ‘he’s on the wall.’ She said, no he’s not,” said Wagner who recalls the old Saint Nick decoration has been in the family for at least 40 years.
They used to display the big wooden figure on the front of their home, next door, then about 20 years ago, a truck slammed into the front of the house–just below the Santa.
Wagner said, the truck was leaving the bar, across the street, “a guy backed straight across into the house, ran into the living room and hit Santa down. But he survived the accident–broke an arm, but put him back on.”
Then Marty found the big wooden figure among the items his mother was trying to see at a garage sale, “my mom had him out for sale, in the garage, and I was driving to help her move heavy stuff and saw him out there, and I said she can’t sell him. He’s mine.”
In the absence of the real Santa decoration, a family friend has offered another old relic to replace it in front of the family’s car shop, that Marty is in the process of re-opening as Wagner’s Body Works.
West Seneca police are investigating, but considering the big decoration might have more instrinsic value for the Wagners than actually worth for sale, West Seneca police officer Greg Kinner doesn’t think the theft was about money.
“Perhaps as a prank, or out of meanness, there is certainly no monetary value in this Santa Claus. Just has intrinisic and memory value to the owner,” said Kinner.
Wagner just wants the Santa figure back, for old time sake, “Just bring him back, at night when nobody is around. That’s all it is.”
If you can help solve this Christmastime Caper, call the West Seneca Detective Bureau’s Confidential Tipline at 675-8423.
Holiday generosity just might overcome this Grinch. Marty Wagner said crafters are offering to make a new Santa figure, all he’s got to do is supply the materials.