POLICE are hunting a cold-hearted thief who stole a well-known life-size Santa replica, famously displayed at a Clarkes Hill property each December for more than a decade.
John and Cheryl Maher’s Santa, which keeps the district’s children guessing by appearing in a new location each day in the lead-up to Christmas, vanished on Monday night.
It’s believed the Santa was stolen between 8.30pm and 9.30pm after it was placed on a four-wheeled motorcycle ready to surprise local families who drove past the next morning.
Gordon police Leading Senior Constable David Young said it appears one person had carried the Santa from the motorcycle and out of the paddock on foot, towards a small lane adjacent to Mr Maher’s property.
He said one of the Santa’s boots was found near that lane, which was 200 metres from where the Santa was placed.
“There’s no drag marks (in the soil) so it looks like they’ve carried the Santa over their shoulder the whole way.”
Mr Maher said he hoped it was just a prank and that the Santa would re-appear soon.
“There weren’t many cars going past at the time of the night,” he said.
“Someone must have been waiting for (the Santa).”
Mr Maher said the quad-bike and the Santa sack were not taken, but the Santa himself had been pinched.
He said the Santa was well-known by children and their families in the area for appearing up windmills, riding motorbikes and even fishing in a boat on the farm dam.
“The kids love him,” he said.
“You can see cars slowing down as they drive past looking for him. Now he’s gone for good.”
Yesterday several neighbours and their children were at the farm helping the police investigate the theft.
Mr Maher said he and his wife would now try to build a new Santa to keep their traditional alive.
“We’ve lost a day now,” he said.
“I had some major plans this year – probably the best I’ve ever had.”
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the Maher family’s Santa can call Gordon police on 5368 9202 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.