Santa Barbara police are searching for whoever vandalized several businesses along the 700 block of State Street.
Frustrated business owners and employees were locked out of their own shops on Friday after police said someone put a type of epoxy in the front door key locks.
At least four businesses were hit, including Abercrombie and Fitch, Francesca’s, Mini-So and Banana Republic.
“For these jerks to deliberately try to keep a business owner from getting in to his business to conduct business, it’s really stunning,” said Kate Schwab of Downtown Santa Barbara, an organization that helps promote downtown businesses.
Police also found graffiti in the walkway near De La Guerra Plaza. The vandal used heavy purple and red paint to write, “Remember where you stand. This is Chumash land.”
Police followed the trail of paint down State Street and found red paint on the exterior of other businesses.
Schwab said vandalism hurts local merchants who have already been through so much in the last year.
“I hope it’s a call to action for our residents, now more than ever,” Schwab said. “Last year was bad enough, but now more than ever we need their support down here.”
Police are investigating if there is a connection between the paint vandals and whoever put the epoxy in the door locks.
It’s also unknown if the incident is related to the vandalism at the Santa Barbara Mission in October.