Salvation Army Santa arrested in prostitution case on Christmas Eve

Santa collecting money for Salvation Army was arrested on Christmas Eve because of an open arrest warrant

The Santa appearance didn't deceive the cop walking past Price Chopper/Market Bistro in Latham. A man in a St.Nick costume was arrested in front of an upstate New York grocery store when the police officer recognized him as a man with an open arrest warrant. The man was collecting donations for the Salvation Army on Christmas Eve outside the store when he was spotted by the officer.

Edward Agrusti, 40, had an open arrest warrant for allegedly patronizing a prostitute nearly two years ago. Agrusti was cuffed at 11.45 am on Christmas Eve and given summons. The store confirmed to Times Union that he was sent by the Salvation Army. The organisation didn't respond to the news or e-mails from the news media outlet.

Legislation for background check

Santa Claus
Representational image Pixabay

Agrusti will appear before the Colonie Town Court the day after Christmas. Dressed in full costume he was ringing a bell and collecting money for the Salvation Army. The 40-year-old's behaviour towards a prostitute in 2018 had resulted in an arrest warrant that was pending. The officer was at the store for another matter when he recognized the man having a warrant. Colonie police spokesman Lt. Robert H. Winn said they booked him, gave him an appearance ticket and drove him back to Price Chopper.

Earlier this year, state Sen. James Skoufis, D-Orange County, introduced legislation that would require mandatory background checks on employees who would be in close contact with children, even employees who would be in character costumes including Santa or Easter Bunny or any fictional character.

It is not yet clear whether this would be applicable to Agrusti's situation as he was collecting money for a charitable organisation.