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


At 5:30 A.M. (Central time) this morning, the homeowner at 335 South Melchoir Drive West, Christmas Lake Village, had left her home to take her husband to work, only to return home to find a bottle in her front yard with a burning wick extending from the opening.  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.  The Molotov cocktail device was not properly deployed and therefore only caused burn damage to the lawn.

Through the investigation of the device, Master Trooper Trey Lytton learned that the Spencer County Sheriff’s Department had been at the residence around 1:00 A.M. Friday morning.  Deputies had responded for a complaint of an arrow being fired through a bedroom window.  Lytton 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 September 4, 2017 and including this morning. 

Lytton found that the text messages had been sent by 21-year-old Eric Braun of Santa Claus.  Lytton 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.

At 12:11 P.M. (Central), 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.  Lytton believed the t-shirt to match that found earlier in the morning on Melchoir Drive.  Additionally during the search of the residence and a subsequently executed search warrant on Braun’s Toyota Corolla, marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found.

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

Braun was placed into custody without incident and transported to the Spencer County Jail.

Assisting Agencies:  Santa Claus Police Department, Spencer County Sheriff’s Department

Arrested and Charges:

Eric J. Braun, 21, Santa Claus, IN

– Possession, Transporting, Placing a Destructive Device to Kill, Injure, or Intimidate, Level 2 Felony

– Possession, Transporting, Placing a Destructive Device, Level 5 Felony

– Intimidation with a Deadly Weapon, Level 5 Felony

– Criminal Recklessness, Level 6 Felony

– Maintaining a Common Nuisance, Level 6 Felony

– Possession of Marijuana, Class B Misdemeanor