Valuable Santa decoration stolen in Bluffton

rlurye@islandpacket.comDecember 22, 2013 

This 6-foot Santa was discovered missing from Margaret Boni's storage unit Nov. 19.

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Margaret Boni doesn't care about the miscellaneous tools or lawn equipment stolen from her storage unit: All she really wants for Christmas is her 6-foot papier-mache Santa Claus.

The figurine and other property worth a total $1,700 were found missing Nov. 19 from the Bluffton woman's EZ Cool Storage unit, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office report. With the holiday just two days away, Boni, 71, remains hopeful someone will spot her one-of-a-kind Santa, which was the "pride and joy" of her late husband, Louis.

"He's just beautiful," Boni said of the Santa. "If someone has it, he'll be seen, that's for sure."

While her storage space was cleaned out, the suspect left behind shelving and empty boxes -- items that weren't there before -- Boni said. She has no idea who committed the burglary, and her unit was the only one broken into.

Boni bought the Santa about 15 years ago as a gift for her husband, who died about a year and a half ago.

Driving near Moss Creek one day, she noticed the towering figure chained outside a shop. Struck by its spectacles, bushy eyebrows and flowing white beard, she stepped inside to ask a price and left $500 lighter.

"I put it in my Jeep best I could, half of it hanging out, and brought it home to my husband," she said. "He was a real Christmas man."

This year -- unless the statue finds its way home -- her family will make do by embracing the other holiday tradition her husband loved.

"We cook, cook, cook, cook, cook," Margaret Boni said. "That's what he'd want us to do."

Follow reporter Rebecca Lurye at twitter.com/IPBG_Rebecca.

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