Local officials catch reports of Santa sightings in Bainbridge

Published 2:37 pm Monday, December 23, 2013

It is believed that Santa Clause arrived in Bainbridge and Decatur County late Tuesday, Dec. 24 and several sightings were confirmed by local officials as well as the well-known Santa Clause tracking support project run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Sightings of Santa Clause were reported from approximately 2:15 a.m. to the latest sighting in a Decatur County farm at 3 a.m.

Bainbridge Public Safety director Eric Miller said his officers responded to calls throughout Christmas Eve in relation to clatters on rooftops and a large suspect carrying a bag away from a home.

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“There were numerous reports that a gentleman dressed in a red suit with a large bag was seen on roofs in town and we responded to suspicious persons and possibly burglary calls, Miller said. “We did not apprehend anyone because when we made contact with the residents they all confirmed there were items left in their homes and nothing was taken.”

Miller said in addition to calls to the department of Santa sightings, officers while on patrol collected hoof prints of reindeer in several areas.

Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin said his officers too heard reports, not necessarily about Santa but mostly disturbances with reindeer.

“It seems that a lot of the residents are reporting more deer they are seeing so many more deer this season,” Griffin said. “The deputies suspect it might be because of the reindeer coming into the community to get ready for Santa.”

Apart from the presents left behind at household throughout the area, city, county and state officials were in contact with Santa and his public relations officials about his arrival prior to Christmas Day. State senator Dean Burke, R-Georgia, said Santa has communicated with about his love for traveling to Bainbridge.

“Well he loves the river and he always enjoys the people and our southern hospitality, Burke said. “I know he always looks forward to coming.”

Decatur County Administrator Gary Breedlove said he checked his email the week prior to Santa’s arrival and confirmed Santa’s arrival time.

He said the county is always informed of his expected time for safety purposes but Santa can often be delayed with all of his extensive travels.

“He loved flying over all the landings on the Flint River and has said in the past he prefers ours to the ones in the Spring Creek region,” Breedlove said. “Decatur County is one of the largest counties in Georgia and Santa is a big guy himself, so he loves to come and visit.”

Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds said the city has a lot of deserving residents that are looking forward to gifts this year.

“It’s a beautiful location for him to stop, Reynolds said. “It’s a good place for santa to catch a fish or two on his way back to the frozen north. We have opened our doors and chimneys for santa to come. We are excited because we have good residents and good children that live here that deserve a lot of blessings for this year.”

The last reported sighting of Santa was at the Bainbridge-Decatur Humane Society where the director said the dogs started barking and “going crazy” at about 3 a.m.

“We found dog treats for every dog,” director Beth Eck said. “We left cookies out and they were gone too.”