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Gun-toting Santa appeals to bad guys

For the second year in a row, a B.C. police force has sent Christmas cards to local crooks urging them to turn their lives around.

Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich once again appears as a gun-toting Santa Claus, this time apologizing to critics who found last year’s depiction of St. Nick in tactical gear hoisting a machine gun offensive.

Claus is seen writing “I will not play with guns” on a chalkboard next to a disapproving Mrs. Claus, despite carrying a handgun tucked discreetly in his black boot.

“He’s having a bit of an issue with really complying completely with Mrs. Claus and still seems to be a little bit mischievous,” Rich told CTV News.

Inside, the card declares that “Even Santa makes mistakes” and offers words of encouragement to its criminal recipients.

“I know it’s pretty likely you have had a much more difficult life than most of us. The hard truth is that nothing can be done about that,” it reads.

“But it is also true that it is never too late to make a different choice about the rest of your life.”

Last year’s card got international attention, with headlines on the Huffington Post, the Daily Mail newspaper in the UK, and a segment on Live with Kelly and Michael in New York.

Rich declared the campaign a success after four recipients reached out to police in hopes of turning their lives around.

“We should never stop asking people to make a different choice,” Rich said. “They can choose a different life and everybody needs to know that’s always within their power. “

Abbotsford police said anyone who wants help escaping a life of crime can call the department at 604-864-4777.

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