UPDATE: Lee Street Deli will keep its weekend late-night hours

Thursday, April 29, 2010 | 4:42 p.m. CDT; updated 10:19 a.m. CDT, Friday, April 30, 2010

COLUMBIA — Lee Street Deli will no longer be canceling its late-night hours on Fridays and Saturdays, cook Jefferson Shuck said. He said the reason to keep the East Campus eatery open late on weekends was "unspecified."

Saturday on its Twitter account, the restaurant said that late-night hours — from 1 to 3 a.m. — were canceled for an "unknown" period of time. When asked Sunday, two cooks said the decision to not provide hungry night owls with the infamous "juicy burger" was not final.

Recently, the deli had its front door screen kicked in and the sign bolted to the front of the building was removed. The tweet announcing the cancellation of late-night hours mentioned that an employee's bike had been stolen.

David Hornig and John Horner, both cooks at the deli, talked about vandalism in the past. They said clocks have been stolen off the walls, mannequins have mysteriously walked off the premises and a stolen newsstand was found in the front yard of an MU fraternity.

“This happens all the time,” said manager Sarah Debold, referring to the vandalism. But the number of incidents have spiked in the last month or so, Debold said.

“We can’t make enough money to stay open if people are going to steal and vandalize,” Hornig said.

“Drunk people will steal anything,” Horner said.

When the place is packed with drunk, rowdy customers and only two cooks behind the counter, it’s easy for stuff to go missing, Horner said.

Both cooks said they have seen customers stealing candy and chips during the Friday and Saturday midnight shifts. One time, they said, a cook ran after a group of people who had stolen handfuls of candy.

Debold said the cook told her the group threw $12 behind them, and the chase ended.

But for Debold, the concern isn’t over the cost of a few candy bars. With the actual building of Lee Street Deli falling victim to vandalism she has started hiring people to sit in the store and watch for people stealing or vandalizing.

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