‘Santa’ busted with crack pipe, needle in North Jersey, cops say
SOUTH HACKENSACK — A 66-year-old man who played Santa for Toys for Tots drives has been arrested on drug charges after, police say, officers saw a crack pipe near his Santa suit during a traffic stop.
Charles R. Smith, of Pompton Lakes, was arrested after the traffic stop on Route 46 recently, police said. A search of the car revealed more drug paraphernalia and hypodermic needles, police said.
"This is the guy who has our kids sitting on his lap," Capt. Robert Kaiser told the Daily Voice. He said the crack pipe — and the Santa suit — were in plain view during the stop. Smith's Facebook page features several pictures of him in Santa gear, with children and at Toys for Tots events.
Smith is a retired employee of NJ Transit as well, police said.
Smith has been charged with two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of possession of hypodermic needles.
He was released pending a court hearing.
Police provided a mugshot of Smith — with his long, Santa-like beard — as well as an image of him in full Santa gear. It's not clear from information provided by police where the later photo was taken.
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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com