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Police: Teen thief wanted to play Santa

Nov. 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM

ATHENS-CLARKE, Ga., Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Police in Georgia said a 17-year-old caught stealing from a Walmart store told officers he wanted to play Santa Claus for his girlfriend's kids.

Athens-Clarke police said Matthew Dillion Sparks was detained by security guards Sunday at the Walmart in Athens after he pushed a shopping cart loaded with items, mostly toys, out of the store without paying for them, the Athens Banner-Herald reported Tuesday.

Police said the teen told officers he was planning to put the items on layaway and was taking them outside of the store so no one would "mess" with them while he went back inside to buy a drink.

However, the arresting officer wrote the story "did not make any sense to me, since there is no way to put the items on layaway outside the store in the parking lot."

The officer also took issue with the teen's claim of plans to purchase a beverage.

"I knew Mr. Sparks was not going to purchase any other items because he only had 18 cents on his person," the officer wrote in the arrest report.

"Mr. Sparks told me he wanted his girlfriend's three kids to have a good Christmas, and that's why he had all the toys," the report states.

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