Man fleeing with a stolen Wise Man is caught after another unwise move, cops say

California Highway Patrol

California Highway Patrol officers thought the man unwisely dashing across the street in front of a patrol car early Friday in Santa Cruz looked extra-suspicious, officers wrote on Facebook.

Maybe it was the cutout of a Wise Man under his arm, officers wrote, or perhaps the nativity scene banner trailing after him during the unexpected 1 a.m. encounter.

“He actually almost ran right in front of the patrol car and got ran over, but they stopped,” said CHP Officer Sam Courtney, reported KPIX.

When officers tried to halt him, the man fled carrying the missing magi from the nearby Messiah Lutheran Church, but he didn’t get far, perhaps because he was extremely drunk, officers wrote on Facebook.

Officers gave chase as the man made his way down the street, stumbling and falling, according to the Facebook post.

“He did give up the Wise Man at one point and finally they were able to catch him and take him into custody,” Courtney said, reported KPIX.

Ding Tai, 20, of Santa Cruz, was arrested on suspicion of resisting arrest, being drunk in public and unlawful use of a driver’s license, reported the Bay City News.

Related stories from Belleville News-Democrat