DULUTH – Santa's naughty list grew a bit longer Monday after Bentleyville organizers discovered one of their trailers had been vandalized.
The incident prompted those in charge of the annual Christmas lights tour in Bayfront Festival Park, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to Duluth each year, to put out a call on Facebook asking for volunteers to help provide security to the area during nights.
An outpouring of support on social media — complete with dozens who chimed in to chastise the vandals — indicates Bentleyville organizers won't have to look far for a few more helping hands.
Last year, Bentleyville noticed an uptick in vandalism and thefts, event coordinator Tim Rogentine said. In one instance, police helped track down one man who stole heavy-duty electrical cables that cost thousands of dollars, he said.
"There's so many people in the park during the event," Rogentine said. "After last year, our eyes really opened as far as needing to keep a better eye on things."
Duluth police are also aware of the incident and working with Bentleyville to boost their efforts to prevent crimes, he added. The park already has some cameras and has cracked a case in the past by looking at security footage from neighboring buildings.
On Monday morning, event organizers noticed a trio of names spray-painted onto a black trailer in the Bentleyville parking lot.
"We were hoping that Santa would make an early stop at Bentleyville this year, but alas, it was merely Ashely, Chase and Vex," a post on the event's Facebook page said.
Rogentine said he's already received messages from more than a dozen people offering to help look over the park during the wee hours of the morning.
"Thank you to all who help make Bentleyville such a magical place every year," the Facebook post said. "We will not let a few Grinches ruin the fun!"