A Florida man advertised his services as Jolly Saint Nick on Craigslist. He wanted families to hire him for holiday parties. However, this was not the kind of Santa Claus you want children sitting on. Authorities tracked him down, and now he’s behind bars.
Christmas is only a few short weeks away. Families around the country are getting their holiday plans in order. Stores have already raked in the cash after a triumphant Black Friday weekend. Parents are preparing to travel to visit family and friends. More than a few office parties will be hosted.
Among the festivities, you’ll see more than a few Santas. The jolly man in red will be popping up around malls, outside of stores, and even at Christmas parties. It’s a good time to be a rotund man with a white beard. A happy, joy-giving person (with a clean, red suit) can make a good living this time of year.
Some families, schools, and other organizations hire Santa Clauses for events and parties. Maybe you remember seeing Saint Nick drop by your home or classroom when you were young. It’s a fun way to get kids in the holiday spirit and to find out what they want for Christmas.
But you better watch out. Some of the men dressing up as Father Christmas aren’t what they seem.
That was the case for Robert Bruce Kendel Jr. He got his own Santa suit and posted his services on Craigslist. Calling himself “Santa Bob,” he advertised that he was available to appear at holiday parties and other functions.
The only problem? The man is a convicted sex offender.
Deputies in central Florida say he posted advertisements online as a professional Santa Claus.
WOFL reports that 48-year-old Robert Kendel used the name “Santa Bob” in ads on Craigslist, with a photo showing him dressed up as Santa Claus with a child on his lap.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Kendel is a registered sex offender, convicted of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 12 back in 1993.
BAD SANTA: Robert Kendel charged after @OrangeCoSheriff says he’s been a registered sex offender for 25 years and has been dressing up as Santa at parties with kids for work. #fox35 pic.twitter.com/MkZmZRCIrH
— Lara Greenberg (@LaraGreenbergTV) November 28, 2018
Orange County Sheriff’s deputies said they received a tip that Kendel was dressing up as Santa for holiday parties.
One investigator posed as someone interested in hiring Kendel for an event. Deputies arrested him once he arrived to the staged party, wearing his full costume of a red suit, black boots and a fake white beard. [Source: Fox News]
According to reports, Kendel wanted to do this to “make extra money for his family.” Really? Out of all the jobs you could have during the holiday season, you pick Santa Claus.
I’m sorry, I’m not buying it. This man is a convicted sex offender. The last job he should have is one that involves having children sitting on this lap. Get a job wrapping presidents at Macy’s. Bag groceries. Become a valet. Anything that doesn’t involve direct contact with children.
Anyone can see this man was up to no good. I fear for any family that actually responded to his Craigslist ad. But, then again, if you’re using Craigslist to find a Santa Claus for your party, you can’t get upset if he turns out to be a sex offender. There are better ways of finding a Santa Claus for the holidays.