SOUTH HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Authorities say a retiree who volunteers as a Santa Claus impersonator is facing drug charges after police allegedly found a crack pipe in his vehicle during a traffic stop.
South Hackensack police say 66-year-old Charles Smith, of Pompton Lakes, was arrested Monday after a traffic stop on Route 46. They say an officer saw the crack pipe next to a Santa Claus costume.
Authorities say a subsequent search of the vehicle turned up more drug paraphernalia, including empty bags of crack and heroin found alongside a hypodermic needle.
“Visiting Santa should be a happy joyful experience,” Mary Sorvino said, “Need to be better vetted.”
Smith does Santa work with “Toys for Tots,” police said.
The foundation said he worked with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve aboard Picatinny Arsenal. A spokesman said he will not be assisting in the future.
“They have sat in their laps. Don’t know who these people are, and are trusting their kids with them for a few minutes,” Fernando Colon told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
CBS2 went to Smith’s home on Ackerman Place in Pompton Lakes, but no one answered the door.
It wasn’t known Monday if Smith has retained an attorney, a court hearing was pending.
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