I guess it makes sense that Santa would have issues with people stealing stuff . . . I mean, he’d just give it to you for free if you asked, right?

A few guys in Riverside, California shoplifted from a Target on Friday.  And as they were running away from the scene, one of them got tackled in the parking lot . . . by SANTA.  And his elf held the other guy at gunpoint.

It turns out Santa and the elf were undercover cops who were working at the Target, keeping an eye out for shoplifters.

There was one other shoplifter with the guys who got away by stealing a car, but the cops say they know who he is.