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'I'll see you at Christmas': Mother says man who looked like Santa attempted to abduct her children

All three girls said the man looked like Santa and tried to convince the girls to get into his car by offering them teddy bears.
Police lights generic, file photo.

BYRNES MILL, Mo. — A Missouri man was charged with harassment after police said he tried to abduct three girls while posing as Santa Claus.

According to a probable cause statement, 74-year-old Tommy Lee Oplt tried to get the three girls into his car in the parking lot of a restaurant in Byrnes Mill, Missouri, Saturday afternoon.

Police said they were called by the mother of the three children at around 2:30. She told them her three daughters, ages 13, 10 and 8, were in the parking lot on the 4500 block of Hunter Lane when a man approached them in his car.

The probable cause statement said the girls told police the man pulled up next to them and said "They're looking for you, I know where they are. Get in." He also offered the two younger children teddy bears to try to get them into the car.

The 13-year-old girl told Oplt the younger girls were her children, at which time Oplt handed the younger girls a teddy bear and said "I'll see you at Christmas" before speeding off. The girls then ran inside and told their mother what happened.

The probable cause statement said Oplt was identified as the suspect, and he was charged with first-degree harassment. According to online court documents, a warrant has been issued for his arrest, but he has not been taken into custody. His bond was set at $5,000.

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