A Missouri man who dresses up as Santa Claus every year has been arrested, accused of molesting a young girl, according to police.
Anthony Hall, 36, was trusted by many in Garden City, a community of less than 2,000, city police Chief Thomas Alber told KTLA sister station WDAF in Kansas City.
Officers arrested Hall Monday morning at his job at an Auto Zone in the city of Harrisonville. He's charged with child molestation after allegedly sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl. Alber said investigators think there may be more victims.
Hall is known for dressing up like Santa Claus around the holidays and can be seen in photos on social media, even in a 2014 Christmas picture on the Police Department's Facebook page.
"People with these tendencies gravitate toward areas where children are accessible and available," Alber said. "They’re tough cases; they’re cases that hit many people right in the heart."
Investigators said that the girl and her mother were living with Hall when the alleged crime happened.
When the girl told her mother, she told the victim not to tell and continued living in the same home as Hall, police said.
Both Hall and the victim's mother denied the allegations at first but changed their stories after they were shown illustrations the girl gave investigators, WDAF reported, citing court documents.
Alber said other agencies are involved in the investigation, including the Missouri Department of Social Services.
"Children go through special interviews with specially trained forensic investigators," Alber said.
The chief said working the case took months, but Hall's arrest was timely.
"Especially being the beginning of November where people would begin to book Christmas parties that might be employing this individual and allowing him access to more children," Alber said.
Hall admitted to investigators he's been accused in the past of inappropriate sexual contact with each of his own three children, according to WDAF.