That’s Not Santa! NR13162pv

May 14, 2013

Los Angeles:  Firefighters and police officers rescued a man stuck in the chimney of the Sylmar Recreation Center overnight after the would-be Santa called 9-1-1 for help.

“This guy could take some lessons from Santa Claus,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, head of detectives for the Mission Police Station.  “Namely, abstain from drink before climbing down chimneys and keep better track of the calendar; there’s still 225 days until Christmas.”

Sylmar resident, Cuauhtli Castillo Lujano, 27, told police that he “fell” into the chimney after he climbed onto the roof.  He said that he had been jumping from roof to roof of buildings because “that’s what people do.”

Officers could smell a heavy odor of alcohol on the man’s breath.

After determining the man had no prior criminal record, and seeing that he had not entered the building proper, officers booked him for trespass of the closed public building, which sits on the grounds of Sylmar Park on Borden Avenue.  His bail was set at $2,500.

“We suspect his intent was to get into the building, probably to steal something, but we couldn’t prove that,” Lt. Vernon explained.  “But we’ll look into his activities and use his fingerprints now to see if there’s any local burglaries we can clear.  Who knows?  Maybe he gave us an early Christmas present after all.”

Anyone with information about this crime is urged to call LAPD Mission Area detectives, at (818) 838-9967. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).  Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).  Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone.  All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.