Brothers hand out Christmas cash at New York mall

NEW YORK Mon Dec 24, 2007 4:52pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shoppers got a Christmas Eve surprise on Monday when a pair of brothers handed out $100 (50 pound) bills at a mall on Long Island, New York.

Police responded to a call from security staff at the Sunrise Mall in the town of Massapequa, concerned that the give-away might create a scene or involve counterfeit bills.

Instead, officers found a simple case of Christmas charity where calm prevailed as the businessmen, aged 45 and 41, gave out the money at the entrance to the shopping centre, police said.

"These two brothers say they do this every year. They say they've been blessed and just want to give something back," Detective Sergeant Anthony Repalone said.

"They gave it to people who they thought needed it. The people were very appreciative."

Police declined to identify the brothers, respecting their wish to remain anonymous.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by John O'Callaghan)