Metro-East News

This Santa Claus is going to jail (he was naughty, not nice, police say)

Cody J. Alexander
Cody J. Alexander

An alleged Scrooge was arrested while playing Santa Claus on Monday night.

Cody J. Alexander, 26, of Hillsboro was arrested Monday night as he was portraying Santa Claus outside Strano and Associates Real Estate. Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing said his department received word from the U.S. Marshals Service that a wanted fugitive was working as a Santa Claus in Waterloo. Alexander was wanted by federal authorities after he allegedly failed to appear for a hearing in East St. Louis on Dec. 15. A warrant was issued for his arrest and Rohlfing and his deputies found him outside on a chilly Monday night playing the role of Kris Kringle.

Rohlfing said Alexander was in front of the business “with one of his little helpers and a reindeer.” Alexander was not taken into custody in front of the children and others who were at the event. Instead, Rohlfing said they took Alexander inside the business and took him into custody there.

Earlier this year, Alexander was indicted by a grand jury on one count of mail theft for an incident that allegedly occurred during the 2015 Christmas season. According to the indictment filed in his case, Alexander was working in Fayette County on Dec. 15, 2015, and was “employed by a company contracted to the United States Postal Service for delivery of United States mail, (and) did knowingly steal items and packages from the mail route that he had been assigned to work in the delivery of the mail.”

Alexander originally pleaded not guilty to the charge, but had scheduled to change his plea on Dec. 15 in a 2 p.m. hearing in front of Chief Judge Michael J. Reagan. According to court documents, Alexander failed to appear for that hearing and Reagan issued an arrest warrant the following day. A bond revocation hearing in Alexander’s case is set for Friday. He has been free on $5,000 bond since July 14.

According to Montgomery County Circuit Clerk records, Alexander has one previous felony conviction on his record in state court. He was placed on probation for 30 months and given a 100-day jail sentence after pleading guilty in a retail theft case last month. Alexander is scheduled to start serving his jail time in that case on Jan. 20, according to court records. Alexander also has a misdemeanor conviction on his record for animal cruelty in connection with an April 1, 2016 incident.

Alexander is being held without bail at the Monore County Jail ahead of a Wednesday appearance in federal court in East St. Louis. Alexander will get a free ride to court, “but not on a reindeer,” said Rohlfing, who added that he has never had to arrest Santa before.

Don O’Brien: 618-239-2626, @DOBrienBND