LA CROSSE, WIS — A familiar festive sight took a dark turn Friday when authorities raided the Duluth Trading Company store downtown in an effort to free Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Santa and Mrs. Claus could previously be seen in the decorative storefront window smiling and waving to passersby. However, what appeared to be seasonal fun was actually false imprisonment.
According to sources, Santa was able to secretly construct a small “Help Me” sign made from candy canes that he kept out of his flannelled captors’ line of sight.
La Crosse Police were soon tipped off and intervened in the situation. Officers were met with resistance from heavy duty coveralls, boots, and outerwear but ultimately were able to subdue the captors and make their way to the Clauses.
A statement from the Clauses indicated that the ruse had been maintained for years, with Santa and his wife being held captive in the basement of the Doerflinger building during off seasons.
A spokesperson for Duluth Trading Company later issued the following statement: “We are a North country brand, so naturally we need Santa. We need him. We have no further comments at this time.”