Off-duty Santa burgled in church on set of sci-fi horror shoot
An off-duty Santa has been burgled in a church, on a Sunday, while shooting a sci-fi horror movie.
Chris Winchester, of Pukerua Bay, has been a Santa for four years and leant his lap to everyone from placid babies to Labour MP Kris Faafoi.
He finished his Santa shift at Harvey Norman in Porirua on December 11, then headed to a film shoot for his friend and short-film director Richard Turner.
While they were filming, his bag, containing a MacBook laptop, his wallet, and a sentimental silver guitar pick he'd been given when he was best man at a wedding, were stolen.
Two others working on the shoot had their bags stolen too.
Winchester, who is from Britain, spent the night getting hold of overseas authorities and cancelling credit cards, so got very little sleep before he was back in the Santa suit, entertaining.
"Although Santa had his bag stolen, it was very much 'the show must go on'," he said.
Some members of the film's cast and crew worked together as extras on Peter Jackson's Hobbit films. "We all ran away from the dragon."
Winchester was also in the process of writing a screenplay on his computer and editing a spoof music video he described as "The Beatles meets The Hobbit".
"It's based around the idea that everyone gets rescued by eagles. I keep trying to ask Peter Jackson if he could do a cameo biting a carrot."
Meanwhile, the generosity of strangers and his community had been heartening, he said. A neighbour had even set up a Givealittle page so the community could give back to its Santa.
Most of the items on the MacBook were backed up, but he could not replace the guitar pick.
"If anybody sees the pick, it's a silver guitar plectrum, standard pick shape, and it has 'best man' engraved on it
"That's the only thing I really need back."
Anybody with information on the theft should contact Kapiti police on 04 296 6800.