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Dispute over, 'Midnight Madness' poised to return to Wrentham Village Premium Outlets

Posted by Leslie Anderson  October 22, 2012 01:53 PM

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The day-after-Thanksgiving “Midnight Madness” sale at the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets appears poised to go on this year after mall and town officials have resolved a dispute about installing security cameras at the mall.

Last week, Planning Board members in Wrentham voted to allow the sale to go forward on the condition that the mall install ten security cameras. But they ignored the mall’s request that it no longer have to come in front of the town for annual permission to hold the event, leading an attorney for the mall to declare at the time that Midnight Madness was “in limbo.”

That attorney, Lawrence Kaplan, has since told town officials that the mall accepts the town’s decision.

“Wrentham Village Premium Outlets accepted the terms of the Planning Board’s decision,” the mall said in a statement. “We are already working on arrangements for the cameras. We thank the members of the Planning Board and the Police Department for their hard work. We look forward to hosting a great sale event for all.”

The statement echoes an October 18 email sent to town officials from Kaplan, in which Kaplan says he is “pleased to accept the terms of the Planning Board’s decision.”

Store managers who attended last week’s Planning Board meeting last week said the Midnight Madness sale is vital to their bottom lines. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the traditional start to the holiday shopping season.

James Anderson, Wrentham’s police chief, said the town and the malls still need to iron out specifics about the cameras, but that he expects everything to be resolved.

“I’m sure that they’ll do the right thing,” Anderson said. “Time is running short here.”

Local police have been pushing for the cameras for years, citing concerns about the event becoming a potential target for terrorists. Police also say the cameras will assist year-round in their investigations of mall crime, including shoplifting and robbery.

“If we have a crime, it will give us the capability of drawing either the license plate or a suspect and using that for a criminal investigation,” Anderson said.

While past Midnight Madness sales have been largely free of major incidents, Anderson said that at least once, a dispute over cutting in line turned into a shoving match.

Similar sales around the country have sometimes been marred by violence, including in 2008 when a Wal-Mart worker in New York state was trampled to death.

“We’re looking forward to a very good year,” Anderson said. “We’re hoping that the crowds behave themselves like they have, and we hope everyone can get through it safely.”

Calvin Hennick can be reached at calvinhennick@yahoo.com.

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