Riverside police officers, dressed as Father Christmas and an elf, apprehended car thieves near a shopping centre.
The disguised officers were said to have been on duty at the entrance to the mall, tracking down shoplifters. This was reported by the Riverside Police Press Office.
However, instead, police officers spotted three miscreants stealing a Honda CR-V SUV in the car park.
Upon discovering the police officers, the thieves attempted to flee, but were quickly apprehended.
One of the thieves managed to get away in an SUV, but the police quickly identified him and began searching for him.
In the United States in particular, thieves are particularly active during the Christmas and New Year holidays, targeting people doing their holiday shopping.