Santa Claus Man Jailed After Trying To Intimidate With A Molotov Cocktail

A lengthy investigation into numerous violent attempts to intimidate resulted in the Friday arrest of a Santa Claus man.

Indiana State Police say at 5:30 AM (Central time) yesterday, the owner of a home located along the 300 block of South Melchoir Drive West in Christmas Lake Village, had left her home to take her husband to work, only to return to find a bottle in her front yard with a burning wick extending from the opening.

Police say the homeowner immediately contacted Spencer County 911, who requested the assistance of the Indiana State Police and the ISP Emergency Ordinance Disposal Unit.

State Police Troopers and members of the EOD unit responded to the residence to find that the bottle was Kahlua alcoholic beverage bottle containing gasoline and a t-shirt that was lit afire, assembled as a Molotov cocktail.

They say the device was not properly deployed and therefore only caused burn damage to the lawn.

Through their investigation of the device, a trooper learned that the Spencer County Sheriff’s Department had been at the residence around 1 AM Friday morning.  Deputies had responded to a complaint of an arrow being fired through a bedroom window.

The trooper followed up on the early morning complaint, learning that both a male living at the residence, as well as the male’s girlfriend, had received threatening text messages, dating back to Labor Day and including this morning.

Police found that the text messages had been sent by 21-year-old Eric Braun of Santa Claus.  They learned that the vehicle Braun was known to drive matched the description of a vehicle that the homeowner on Melchoir had seen driving away from her neighborhood prior to arriving home to find the Molotov cocktail.

Just after noon (Central) on Friday, Lytton’s investigation led him to Braun’s home in Santa Claus, where he gained permission to search the property.  Troopers found an empty bottle of Crabbie’s ginger beer on the ground with burnt residue on the bottle with a t-shirt lying next to it as a wick.

They believed the t-shirt matched the one found earlier in the morning on Melchoir Drive.

Also during the search of the residence and a subsequently executed search warrant on Braun’s passenger car, marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found.

Troopers also found arrows that matched the exact type fired through the bedroom window early Friday morning.

Braun was placed into custody without incident and taken to the Spencer County Jail where he was booked on Level 2 Felony counts of  Possession, Transporting and Placing a Destructive Device to Kill, Injure, or Intimidate.

Level 5 Felony counts of Possession, Transporting, and Placing a Destructive Device, as well as Intimidation with a Deadly Weapon.

Level 6 Felony counts of Criminal Recklessness and Maintaining a Common Nuisance.

And a Class B Misdemeanor count of Possession of Marijuana.

State police were assisted by the Santa Claus Police Department and the Spencer County Sheriff’s Department.

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