New Jersey girl calls 911 when elf falls from shelf

By Ben Hooper
This Elf on the Shelf ended up on the floor, prompting a 7-year-old girl to call 911. WNBC-TV video screenshot
This Elf on the Shelf ended up on the floor, prompting a 7-year-old girl to call 911. WNBC-TV video screenshot

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OLD BRIDGE, N.J., Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Police in New Jersey said an officer visited the home of a 7-year-old who called 911 with a Christmas emergency: She knocked her elf off of the shelf.

Old Bridge police said Isabelle LaPeruta, 7, panicked when she knocked her family's Elf on the Shelf to the floor while throwing a ball because the popular Elf on the Shelf children's book forbids touching Santa's spies, saying such a violation would cause Christmas magic to leave a home.


The girl said she was trying to call her dad about the accident and asked the 911 dispatcher not to send an officer to her home, but procedure requires a follow-up on all 911 calls from children, police said.

Lynanne LaPeruta, the girl's mother, was napping at the time of the incident and awoke to find her daughter trying to get rid of the police officer.

"She was hysterical crying, she was panicking," the mother told WNBC-TV.

The girl calmed down when her mother and the police officer assured her that she wasn't in any trouble. "Isabella apologized. She touched the Elf on a Shelf. She won't call 911 again," the officer radioed in to headquarters.


"To her, it was an emergency when she touched the elf, and she's going to ruin Christmas, so that was her emergency," Old Bridge Police Lt. Joseph Mandola said. "In her mind, she did right, and it was fine with us."

Isabelle said she was assured that Santa Claus wouldn't punish her for breaking the rules of the Elf on the Shelf.

"He knows I'm not going to do that again," she said of St. Nick.

Lynanne LaPeruta said her daughter learned a lesson about 911.

"I think she knows not to call 911 unless it's an emergency, and an Elf of the Shelf falling off the shelf is not an emergency," she said.

The Bourne Police Department in Massachusetts posted a tongue-in-cheek alert on its Facebook page earlier this month declaring the Elf on the Shelf a "wanted person."

"Use Caution. Wanted in a 'string' of ginger bread house invasions. Known to spread Christmas Cheer and a specialist in covert surveillance. Often seen hiding in high places. Do not approach and especially DO NOT touch as this is known to cause loss of magical abilities to report back to his jolly kingpin!" the post read.


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