DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When Dallas Deputy Marshal Julius Bryant dons the red suit and white beard, he becomes ‘Santa James.’
That’s a little bit Santa, a little bit James Brown. “Santa feels good. I knew that I would now,” he sings to the tune of Brown’s classic song, while busting a dance move.
For three years now, he’s visited the Senior Care Health and Rehab Center on MLK Boulevard, entertaining the residents with his jolly Christmas cheer. That’s exactly what he was doing Wednesday, when his ‘day job’ interfered.
Leaving the nursing home, Bryant and his fellow deputies spotted a Dallas police officer chasing Stephen Chandler, a suspect on the run who had just bailed out of a car. Chandler was reportedly spotted shoplifting disposable razors from a nearby Family Dollar. Police say he was also driving a car reported stolen in a carjacking.
Still in his Santa suit – Bryant joined the chase, alongside his chief. “It’s an instinctual thing to get involved in a chase and to help another officer. So, he jumped in the car with me – and really I didn’t think about it until the suspect was in custody,” said Chief Deputy Marshal Paul Hansen.
The two caught up just as the arresting officer had tackled the suspect and slapped on the cuffs. “When he was rolled over, the first thing he saw was Santa standing over him – and his eyes got this big – like I don’t believe it, I’ve just been arrested by Santa,” said Bryant.
The officer was even more amused, stopping to take a picture with the helpful Santa. “Whether you’re dressed as Santa or not, you’re still a peace officer,” said Bryant.
As for Chandler, he’s now in jail, where he definitely won’t be getting a visit from Santa this year. “He’s at the top of my naughty list,” said Bryant.