That’s the Christmas spirit! South Carolina restaurant owner declines to press charges against man who stole their Santa Claus statue
- Surveillance footage outside Bonjour Main restaurant in downtown Greenville captured the moment on December 11 when their Santa decoration was stolen
- A man in a woolen hat approaches the large stuffed Santa, then carries him away down the street
- Police issued an appeal for information, and within 24 hours the thief brought the Santa back, with a bunch of flowers for the owner
- The restaurant owner, Mayra Gallo, said she would not press charges as long as his apology was genuine, and he made it on local TV – which he did
A South Carolina thief who drunkenly stole a Santa from outside a restaurant returned the decorations with a bunch of flowers, and promised never to do it again.
Mayra Gallo, the owner of Bonjour Main, said she would not press charges against the man, known only as Melvin – provided his apology was genuine.
She also insisted he repeated the apology on local TV, which he did.
‘I’m sorry. Really sorry,’ said Melvin. ‘I know saying sorry doesn’t do anything, but I promise I’ll do better.’
Melvin was caught on surveillance camera on December 11 carrying the festive decoration away from Gallo’s restaurant in downtown Greenville.
The festive decoration is seen outside Bonjour Main restaurant – Santa was placed there as part of Greenville’s ‘Window Wonderland’ festival
The thief admitted his mistakes and made an apology on television
Melvin can be clearly seen on December 11 carrying Santa away from the restaurant
Surveillance cameras showed Melvin carrying the giant decoration from the restaurant
The City of Greenville tweeted the footage, and within 24 hours Melvin brought the Santa back.
On Thursday, he returned to the restaurant to apologize, carrying a dozen roses to say sorry.
Henry Coburn, a reporter with WSPA 7, went to Gallo’s restaurant and found Melvin there too.
‘I was about to interview a local restaurant owner about the theft of her Santa from outside her business. Then, she stopped me and said, “He’s sitting right up there,”’ Coburn tweeted.
‘Sure enough, sitting at the counter up front, was the man responsible.’
Gallo then told Coburn that Melvin was going to apologize on camera.
Coburn tweeted: ‘She said, “He is here to apologize, so I told him if he wants me to accept the apology, he has to talk to the camera and come clean.”’
Coburn then sat down to film an interview with Melvin.
The owner said she would not be pressing charges
Melvin told the local news station he was out on the town celebrating a friend’s birthday, and had been drinking.
‘Just wasn’t thinking,’ he said. ‘I was like, ‘That’s cool. Wish I had it.”
‘I’ll do anything I can to make things right, pay for any damages, fix anything I can, work for free,’ he said.
‘I’ll literally do anything to resolve this situation in the most positive way possible.’
Gallo said she would not press charges but would take Melvin up on his offer to help around the restaurant.
Coburn concluded: ‘I got to be in the room for an unexpected, heartwarming redemption story.
‘May we all have the courage of Melvin to come clean for our mistakes. May we all have the heart of Mayra to forgive others for theirs.’