November 26, 2004

Vandals Glue Store Locks on ‘Black Friday’

LAFAYETTE, La. - The busiest shopping day of the year turned out to be a sticky affair. Vandals apparently glued the locks on dozens of Lafayette's biggest retailers, preventing managers from opening up promptly on lucrative "Black Friday." Hundreds of shoppers, some of whom arrived before dawn, were forced to wait outside Barnes & Noble, Old Navy and other stores while managers summoned locksmiths.

At least 200 locks on dozens of businesses were glued, including main entrances, rear doors and employee entrances, locksmith Garan Wilson said. Wilson's first job at about 5 a.m. Friday was to make his way to the front door lock at Old Navy - by pushing through about 500 shoppers waiting outside, he said.

"I found about a half a tube of glue stuck inside," he said.

Kevin Vizena, head locksmith for Pop-A-Lock in Lafayette, said the vandals squirted the glue deep inside the keyholes, forcing him to drill holes and remove the locks from the doors.

"We've never run into a day that's been quite so busy with these particular problems," Vizena said.

Chuck Trenchard, an employee of S&K Menswear, said the prank had cost his store more than $1,000 in business, because potential customers had arrived early, then took off because they couldn't get inside.

Most of the stores had their doors open for customers by midmorning, Vizena said.

Lafayette Police had no suspects but were investigating the vandalism as cases of possible criminal mischief or criminal damage to property, both misdemeanors, Lt. Angelo Iorio said.