Kidnapping Santa

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A man dressed as Santa Claus has apologised in court for taking a child for a motorcycle ride without permission.

The man was accused of kidnapping the eight-year-old in A Batesburg-Leesville earlier this month (December 2006).

John Michael Barton said he was in ‘Santa mode’ when he took the girl from a petrol station.

At a bail hearing on Monday, December 19, 2006, he said he was trying to spread holiday cheer in a non-commercial fashion – giving side car rides to children.

He added: “I'm so very sorry about this whole thing.” Barton had been giving other children rides in the area with their parents permission, according to Lexington County Sheriff, James Metts.

Bail was set at $100,000 and Jeffcoat barred Barton from having any unsupervised contact with children or contact with the girl's family.

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Sarah Carnell

By Sarah Carnell