Residents in the city of San Fernando could not stop their J.C. Penney store from closing over the weekend. But they did manage to stop the dismantling of the store's long-time neon sign. The sign has not been lit in as long as 40 years, but building owner Severyn Aszkenazy — who's also a newspaper publisher and political player in the small city — claimed ownership of the sign. From the Daily News:
He said he received a message on his cell phone at 10:40 p.m. Sunday showing video of men taking down the metal letters bolted to the wall above the back entrance of the J.C. Penney store, apparently on their way to next take down the sign itself.
Residents called police to stop the men. San Fernando Police Sgt. Saul Garibay said the men said they were hired by Penney's, but it was unclear if they were telling the truth.
"They did not have the proper permits," Garibay said. "We're not sure if they were with Penney's."
San Fernando Mayor Pro Tem Antonio Lopez said one of he men taking down the letters told him: "If you'd arrived a half hour later, this sign would have been on eBay."
Photo of Penney's neon sign in San Fernando: David Crane/Daily News - Slide show