Missing Santa found in Yemassee

info@islandpacket.comDecember 26, 2013 

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

SUBMITTED PHOTO

Call it a Christmas miracle. Santa Claus once more graced the porch of a Bluffton family Tuesday evening, more than a month after the 6-foot papier-mache statue went missing.

The $500 figure, a beloved decoration belonging to 71-year-old Margaret Boni, was reported stolen from an EZ Cool Storage unit Nov. 19, along with $1,200 worth of lawn equipment, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office report.

On Christmas Eve, a woman was driving past Fennell Elementary School in Yemassee when she spotted what she believed to be the same Santa. The woman snapped some photos and sent them to an Island Packet reporter, who alerted relatives of Boni.

Family members drove down to Yemassee to confirm it was their Santa before contacting law enforcement, according to Boni's son, Al. Officers then spoke with the school's principal, who told them the statue had recently been donated, he said.

By Tuesday evening, the Bonis was allowed to retrieve their Santa.

"My whole family came over for Christmas Eve and nobody knew about it [being found] until they got there," Al Boni said. "It was a pretty great surprise."

More information on the theft was not available from the Sheriff's Office on Thursday, according to Lt. Col. Bill Neill.

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