Family saws their way out of locked car dealership

A North Andover family that was stuck behind the locked gate of a Haverhill car dealership parking lot on Friday night entertained themselves for nearly three hours until sawing through the lock with a borrowed power tool.

"We made movies. We Facebooked a lot in regards to our ordeal, making fun of the fact that we were captive in the Bill DeLuca car lot," Jennifer Rivers said. "The kids sat in cars - the cars that were open. We kicked around a cardboard box."

Daughters Nilan, 13; Norah, 12; and Keira, 8; laughed and posed for pictures, singing "Break Free," a song by pop star Ariana Grande.

The family had been looking for a car to buy when they pulled into the parking lot of the Bill DeLuca dealership at 6 p.m., just as the business was closing. Unbeknownst to them, staff apparently then locked the gate and left with their car still inside.

"We went to leave, and the gates were all locked, bolted shut," Jennifer said. "It was great for the first hour. After that, it was annoying."

"I was tired. I wanted to go home," Nilan added. "I was hungry, and then I was kind of bored."

The Rivers called Haverhill police, who quickly responded and found a cleaning contractor inside, but he did not have keys to the gate. The officer then contacted a dealership manager, Jennifer said.

"He wasn't there," Jennifer said. "Said somebody would be there in 20 minutes, and 20 minutes was every 20 minutes for three hours."

With no luck, her husband stepped over the gate and walked to the Hampton Inn next door, where a construction crew that was staying the night lent him a Sawzall.

With permission from the police, he sawed through the lock, as Jennifer recorded their break-out.

"I was like screaming at him, and he started cutting it," said Nilan, who feared her dad would be arrested. "I was like, 'Don't cut it!'"

Just as he finished cutting the lock, a security officer arrived. A set of keys, he said, was inside the building, where the officer had found the cleaner earlier in the evening.

"We're like, 'Really?'" Jennifer said. "We could have used that two hours ago."

An employee of U.S. Security Associates, the company that patrols the dealership, told Fox 25 that the person who was on schedule to patrol the premises Friday night never showed up, and that he was finally called at 9:30 p.m., to take over.

FOX25's calls to Bill DeLuca were not returned on Saturday.

The Rivers said they were hoping for an apology, but never got one. Nonetheless, they are still laughing at their latest family memory and have a tip for future car-shoppers.

"Pack a cooler," Jennifer said. "Make sure you have bolt cutters just in case and park near the entrance."