Young thieves fleece Santa

Terry Haden, who has played Santa for the past 15 years, is saddened that young thieves have stolen from his wishing well..
Terry Haden, who has played Santa for the past 15 years, is saddened that young thieves have stolen from his wishing well.. Cade Mooney

A LITTLE piece of the Christmas spirit has been pilfered from Currimundi, with young thieves swiping charity money from under Santa's nose.

And the big fella isn't happy.

The theft of $15 from a charity wishing well has Terry Haden scratching his head about what has happened to Christmas spirit.

The 55-year-old is a volunteer Santa on the Coast and spends the festive season spreading Christmas cheer.

On Friday night, at his home draped in decorative lights, Terry was handing out lollipops to people admiring his display when a couple of youngsters seized the chance to take money out of the charity wishing well.

Terry said there was about only $15 in gold coins in the well, which collects donations for the Starlight Foundation.

The youngsters, aged about 10 or 11, dashed off with their loot and left behind only two five cent coins and one 10 cent coin, Terry said.

"Each year I do the same thing. I'm the little man in the red suit," he said.

"If I can put a smile on a lot of people's faces then that gives me a really good feeling.

"Then when these little things happen it really bugs me."

As he volunteered in the red-and-white suit at a Little Athletics event yesterday, Terry said he would report the theft to police.

It was not the first time he has been hit by Grinch-like miscreants.

A few years ago Christmas lights worth more than $2000 in his yard were smashed by neighbourhood vandals.

Terry has been collecting money for the Starlight Foundation at his Christmas wonderland home for four years.

"There's still good out there, (but) there's a lack of it," he said.

"My parents always told me to respect my elders and help my fellow person."

Terry said he hoped everyone could be a little kinder and more thoughtful.

"My number one goal is if I can put a smile on someone's face I have achieved what I've aimed for, and that's what I do at Christmas time."

Topics:  christmas santa starlight foundation theft

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