Toyland can rejoice. There is joy once more in Whoville. The Santa House can resume taking holiday orders.
His abductor, identified as Thomas Carman, 25, of Pompton Lakes, turned himself in to Morristown police at 10:40 am on Friday, police reported.
“He’s extremely remorseful, very apologetic. He realizes the big mistake he made,” said Morristown Public Safety Director Michael Corcoran.
Carman, who has been charged with theft, a third-degree offense, had been captured on a new video security system capturing the fiberglass sentinel, on the historic town square in the early morning on Dec. 9, 2018:
MorristownGreen.com broke the story, with the video, on Thursday evening. Another person is seen on the video; Corcoran said Carman told police the caper was his idea and no further charges are anticipated.
Mayor Tim Dougherty thanked police for their diligent work, and for helping restore Christmas cheer. “All is right in Morristown,” he said.
No word yet on whether Santa will grant a pardon to the suspect. We’re told he could face 12 months of hard labor on the Island of Misfit Toys and a life sentence of coal in his stocking.
Jennifer Wehring, executive director of the Morristown Partnership, organizer of the festival since 2002, said Santa is a forgiving fellow. “He trusts there is good in people.”
The courts could be another story. These Toy Soldiers cost $1,200 apiece, and Wehring is concerned that the abducted officer may have been injured when his mounting bracket was broken.
Additionally, the Partnership has incurred the expense of building special boxes to secure the bases of all six Toy Soldiers, who were new additions to this year’s month-long festival, which continues through Christmas Eve.
Carman, a mechanic, has a date in Superior Court on Jan. 2, 2019.
Last month the Trustees of the Green, who maintain George Washington’s old stomping grounds for the public’s enjoyment, installed security cameras in response to vandalism that has included someone chipping off the General’s bronzed thumb and an historic document it clasped.
Alice Cutler, president of the Trustees, called the Toy Soldier’s recovery “terrific” news.
“Now, it would be nice if someone returned George’s thumb and document, that would be the best Christmas gift,” Cutler said. “That would make George and (fellow statues) Lafayette and Hamilton happy as well.”
The Toy Soldier, meanwhile, has remained tight-lipped, according to Corcoran, a Navy veteran.
“He wanted to go home. He’s been away a long time. He wanted to go back to his post,” said Corcoran, who was glad this story had a happy ending.
“It’s a wonderful life.”