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Stolen Santa Returned After Grinch Strikes Santa Barbara Home

Evelyn Jacob says her homemade decoration is 'bruised and disheveled,' but that she'll clean it up and put it back in front of her Foothill Road home

A holiday humbug turned into a Christmas miracle Friday when Evelyn Jacob’s stolen homemade Santa Claus decoration was returned to her driveway after someone stole it Thursday morning.

“He’s a little bruised and disheveled, and he’s not telling us where he’s been,” she said in an e-mail shortly after Noozhawk first reported the story. “We’ll fatten him up again and clean him up, and get him back out there tomorrow.”

Jacob said she doesn’t know whether it was the culprit who returned Santa, perhaps given a guilty conscience by her sign, which told the person — or people — to be ashamed of themselves.

Jacob is the creator of the city’s first bagel shop, Food From the Heart, and has designed decades worth of fantastic Solstice Parade costumes.

Every Halloween, a witch adorns her Foothill Road home’s front gate, and each Thanksgiving hosts a huge, colorful turkey. And starting four years ago, her life-size Santa brought cheer to passers-by for the Christmas season — until Thursday morning.

The jolly man was tied to Jacob’s mailbox with some wire, which she found cut and Santa missing just six days after he made his 2010 debut.

“It’s the wrong thing to do at Christmas,” she said. “You don’t steal Santa.”

Evelyn Jacob, with her sign pleading for Santa's return, says her homemade decorations are among her many labors of love.
Evelyn Jacob, with her sign pleading for Santa’s return, says her homemade decorations are among her many labors of love. (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

Jacob said she never had a problem with her other holiday decorations and planned to branch out to an Easter bunny and Valentine’s Day decoration, but the theft is a bit disheartening.

“You don’t want to have to chain things down,” she said. “You shouldn’t have to chain Santa!”

She said she sees her Santa as a symbol for the spirit of Christmas and one of her many labors of love. Made with chicken wire, stuffing and a full red Santa suit, the decoration inspired children to wave and people to honk as they went by her home, Jacob said. He would get olives that fell from the tree above picked out of his boots and his beard groomed daily to keep him presentable.

Santa probably isn’t Jacob’s most well-known creation, as she has created ornate Solstice Parade costumes every year for the past 28 years, including birds with 8-foot wings, gypsies, pirates and stilts-wearing ballerinas.

Jacob has long been involved in the culinary industry and began the grassroots organization Food From the Heart 17 years ago, which has since grown and provides meals to people with AIDS.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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