The Christmas shopping rush ground to a sticky stop in Lafayette, La., Friday as dozens of shops planned to open up early — only to find their locks glued shut.
"I arrived at the store to open up around 7:30 this morning and went to put my key in the lock and it just would not go in," Chuck Trenchard of S&K Men's Sportswear (search) in the Courtyard Shopping Center told KFLY-TV of Lafayette. "Then someone came over to me and said 'Your key is not going to work — someone super-glued the lock shut.'"
Across the street at the Mall of Acadania, hundreds of eager customers waited for the Old Navy (search) store to open up at 5 a.m. — but had to wait even longer for a locksmith to arrive.
"There was about 500 people in the way [outside Old Navy], so I had to move through them," Garan Wilson of local locksmiths Pop-a-Lock (search) told the TV station. "Then I found about a half a tube of glue stuck inside [the lock]."
In all, about 200 locks in more than a dozen large retail stores along Lafayette's main shopping district — among them Toys R' Us, Barnes & Noble, Marshalls and Bed, Bath and Beyond — were hit.
Not only were front doors glued shut, with adhesive squirted deep inside the locks, but employee entrances and loading docks were as well.
"I started at about 4:30 this morning and have been going all day," Joel Broussard of Lafayette Locksmith Service (search) told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. "I've probably replaced more than 15 locks by myself. We do a lot of commercial work, but nothing like this."
Trenchard, the S&K manager, thinks it was probably just a prank, but one that had financial consequences.
"The customers were frustrated. We were frustrated," he told the Daily Advertiser. "They cost us a lot of sales, easily about $1,000 from people having to wait and then just leaving."
Smaller retailers, however, found themselves untouched by the vandal or vandals.
"There was nothing in our locks. We tried the key and it turned," Ed Faske of Pets Unlimited told the Daily Advertiser. "I'm glad it didn't happen to us."
Cathy Wyatt of Daystar, a Christian-oriented retailer, invoked a higher power.
"I hadn't heard much about what happened. God protected us, I guess," she said to the newspaper.
And the U.S. Post Office located along the shopping strip was unscathed.
"Maybe they thought we weren't open today," clerk Debra Curry told the Daily Advertiser. "That, or they were smart enough not to vandalize a federal building."
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.
"Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving, is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year and puts many retailers into "the black" for the calendar year.
— Thanks to Out There reader Sabrina G. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Granny Nabs Half-Naked Thief
LYNNWOOD, Wash. (AP) — When this granny saw a handcuffed man trying to flee from a department store, she didn't just step out of the way of the charging scofflaw.
"I get pushed and shoved a little sometimes at the mall, but nothing like this," said 60-year-old Janice Lewis.
Lewis, who has 10 grandchildren, grabbed the man's jacket and held on until he was tackled by Officer Anne Codiga. She broke a finger and bruised her hand in the scuffle.
The chase began across the street from Alderwood Mall on Nov. 22, when workers at Verity Credit Union reported a man was trying to use an account that wasn't his.
Police had arrested and handcuffed the man, and were leading him outside when he bolted.
As he ran, with two officers in pursuit, his jeans slid to his ankles and he tripped over them, falling in the middle of the road. He flipped off his shoes, wriggled out of his pants, got to his feet and ran.
Wearing boxer shorts, one sock, a jacket and a shirt, he ran into the mall parking garage. Codiga followed.
Lewis had seen the man running from police near the credit union, but thought officers had caught him. So she was shocked to see him suddenly running toward her from the parking garage.
The man was booked for theft and assault.
Old Folks' Gambling Den Shut Down
BROCKTON, Mass. (AP) — Police have shut down what they said was an illegal gambling club, an establishment frequented mostly by senior citizens looking for a place to try their luck on video poker and card games.
The club, located in a Main Street professional building just steps away from a day-care center, was in operation for at least three years, authorities said.
The alleged ringleader, Charles J. Matta, 65, was charged with several gambling-related counts. He said the club's clientele included mainly bored old-timers.
"We're a bunch of old people looking for something to do," he said from his subsidized high-rise apartment. "You got people sitting around all day waiting to die."
Matta was arrested Monday when he arrived at the club, which went by the name New England Salesmen's Association.
A second man, Roy P. Marian, 57, was charged with gaming and unlawful selling or keeping alcohol for sale. Two women who were hostesses also will be charged, police said.
Police used an undercover officer to gather evidence. Seized were seven video poker machines, playing cards and poker chips and records listing names and amounts owed or paid out, Lt. William Conlon said.
Mobile Phones Go Airborne
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) — Authorities in Sweden arrested a man who shot mobile phones into the yard of a high-security prison with a bow and arrows, police said Saturday.
The 25-year-old man is charged with planning to aid a prison escape and could get up to a year in jail, police said.
The suspect, whose name was not released, taped two cell phones and a battery charger to three arrows, and fired them over the 12-foot wall into Mariefred prison outside Stockholm on Friday night, police spokeswoman Susanne Abrahamsson said.
The man was not spotted by guards when he fired the arrows, but was arrested after police found his car parked about 650 feet from the prison walls, with a bow hidden underneath it, she said.
After the man returned to his car, police dogs traced his scent back to the prison wall, and guards were able to find the arrows in the prison yard, where inmates go for exercise.
It was unclear which inmates were supposed to receive the phones, Abrahamsson said.
Cell phones smuggled to inmates have played a vital role in three highly publicized prison breaks in Sweden between July and September.
Police suspect the inmates used them to coordinate their escapes with accomplices on the outside. All the inmates who escaped in the three prison breaks — including from Mariefred prison — were recaptured within days.
Several prison employees were later charged with smuggling phones into the prisons, which has led to more frequent searches of all prison employees.
Using a bow to get phones into prison seems to be a new technique, Abrahamsson said.
"As far as I know, this is a first," she said.
Disneyland Keeps Santa Grounded
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Santa Claus can build toys, shimmy down a chimney and harness flying reindeer. But one thing he can't do any more is skydive near Disneyland.
An annual "Jingle Bell Jump," with Santa parachuting to the Anaheim Town Square shopping center with gifts and greetings, was canceled for a second year because of a federal law restricting use of area airspace.
Instead, Santa will float in a hot air balloon tethered to the ground Friday.
Disney officials say the flight restrictions are needed to thwart terrorists who could target the park. Managers of the 50-store shopping center don't buy it.
"The terrorists are not involved in any way whatsoever," said Ryan Williams, promotions director for center owner NewMark Merrill. "This is Santa landing with his elves."
Under the restriction, aircraft are banned from flying below 3,000 feet within 3 miles of Disneyland or the Disney World resort in Orlando, Fla. No other U.S. theme parks have such protection.
The law has also drawn complaints from local pilots who have had to change flight paths and operators of banner-towing planes who can no longer fly above the park.
Last year, Santa arrived in a fire truck.
Williams said he still hopes next year to resurrect the skydive, which began in 1999 and drew a few thousand people a year. He said he will circulate a petition asking Congress to reconsider the law and distribute signs that read, "Let Santa land in 2005."
Optimists Give Up
QUAKERTOWN, Pa. (AP) — It's a glum day for optimists.
After 24 years of community service, the Quakertown Optimists Club (search) is calling it quits. They're holding their last meeting on Thursday, citing declining interest.
"I feel sad," club president Bernard Kensky said.
Kensky said that fewer club members were taking part in sporting and scholastic activities for children, and fewer kids were getting involved in club events.
The group worked with schools to hold essay, spelling and public speaking contests for students, sponsored a youth bowling league and organized golf tournaments and football and basketball events.
A bicycle derby sponsored by the club and the Quakertown police department drew only 12 children last year, down from previous attendance of 50 to 70 children, Kensky said.
The Optimist Club is an international organization that formed in 1920. The Quakertown chapter started in 1980 with 35 members, but dropped to 15 members this year.
"Four or five people would come to meetings and only two or three people would help out with the activities," Kensky said. "I don't know why people stopped getting involved."
Quakertown is about 35 miles north of Philadelphia.
Compiled by FOXNews.com's Paul Wagenseil.
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