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Kids and cops crack Christmas case at West Edmonton Mall

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Local kids teamed up with Edmonton police officers Sunday to solve a festive whodunnit at West Edmonton Mall.

Children from the Bent Arrow Healing Society arrived at a holiday brunch with Santa Claus to find Father Christmas missing.

After hearing eyewitness reports from Santa's elves, the junior detectives partnered up with Edmonton police officers to find their suspect – The Grinch.

"I think this is a really cool deal," said Greg Ettinger, there with his granddaughter. "These people are great, they're treating the kids wonderful … The kids are loving every minute of this."

The teams followed clues, stocked up on sweet treats and picked up lost presents along the way with stops at Build-a-Bear and It'Sugar. Soon, Santa was saved.

Teams of detectives stopped at several stores in West Edmonton Mall Sunday during their search to save Santa from the Grinch. (Miriam Valdes-Carletti)One mother at the event said it was a blessing to be able to take part in the holiday mystery with her family.

"We're just overwhelmed and feeling the caring and compassion and it's just a really great experience...I hope that more people could experience it, it's something the kids will never forget," said Crystal Prince.

Operation Save Santa is a partnership between the Edmonton Police Foundation and Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society.

EPS Chief Dale McFee said the event is a positive way to connect officers with the community and help spread some holiday cheers for families in need.

"Last year was exceptional, this year was exceptional again," McFee said. "A grandma who was with us and looking after two boys said this was the best day of her life … that's why we're here."

"This is why I joined the job," said EPS officer Gabriel Francisco. "Being out in the community is number one for me and what better way to do that."

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Miriam Valdes-Carletti

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