A giant blow-up Santa has been gunned down in a drive-by shooting in the US – with the deflating deed captured on video.
The unfestive act carried out in Lexington, Kentucky, left a gaping 46cm (18in) hole in the Father Christmas and raised concerns other similar inflatable decorations could be targeted by the trigger-happy yobs, putting people in danger.
The Santa Claus, which had pride of place in a couple’s front garden, had been brought just days earlier for $200.
But it is hoped with the help of thimble-fingered neighbours that this St Nicholas could be stitched up and rise again, providing some much-needed yuletide cheer.
Homeowner Donald Nelson said: “Me and my wife were sitting on the couch watching TV and we heard a small bang or whatever and she asked me to take a look.
“When I looked out the front door, we saw the inflatable had fallen over.”
But it was only when he reviewed his CCTV footage the reality of what happened was brought home.
Mr Nelson said: “I went back and looked at our home security camera and it actually showed a vehicle turn around in the court and a sound that sounded like a firearm, shoot it.
“As soon as that noise went off, the inflatable fell down.”
He added: “I mean, there’s multiple neighbours that have inflatables too and I mean certainly they could be targeted also.
“If they’ve done one, they’ll probably do several.
“Hopefully people will have Ring cameras, security cameras, that will catch a licence plate or give us a better description of who’s doing this.”
Mr Nelson went on: “We’ve got some neighbours that can sew and have promised their services to help get him up and going again… I just beg people to check and see what your kids are doing.
“I hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
“We don’t want anyone to get hurt. It’s not a cute, fun thing.
“This is, you know, you’re discharging a firearm at someone’s home.”
NBC affiliate Lex 18 reported that Mr Nelson filed a police report but hadn’t had any updates as of Saturday.