Santa Claus has not been arrested at a Winnipeg mall, according to local authorities.
Winnipeg police took to Twitter to let the public know officers did not take Santa into custody at Cadillac-Fairview Polo Park Wednesday after video and photos appearing to show a mall Santa being arrested made the rounds on social media.
“Police did not attend Polo Park, and no Mall Santa was arrested. Nothing untoward occurred,” police said in a reply to a video of the incident posted to the site.
The short video appears to show a man dressed as Santa Claus being handcuffed by two men dressed in uniforms at the Portage Avenue shopping centre.
Cadillac-Fairview Polo Park general manager Peter Havens tells Global News the mall Santa’s arrest was “done in jest.”
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“It was a joke by centre staff, it’s actually security staff that’s arresting him,” Havens explained.
“The group was trying to get a silly picture and unfortunately it was picked up by some other bystander.”
Havens apologized on behalf of the shopping centre for any confusion caused by the apparent prank.
“To be clear, Santa has not been removed from the property, and there’s been no wrong-doings by the jolly old elf,” he said.
“Any depiction of an arrest was done in jest by the centre’s staff and it was an error in judgment.”
— With files from Marissa Turton