By Alexandria Hoff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Caution tape and locked doors. That’s what some shoppers were met with Thursday on the southeast end of the Ridley Shopping Center in Delaware County. One store door posted a sign noting their temporary closure, another stated that they were dealing with a “serious” issue.

That issue is rats, according to shoppers and store workers. Several stores have been closed as Ridley Township investigates a possible infestation.

Residents say that the strong odor was a dead giveaway to the problem.

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Since Tuesday, Staples and Papa Johns have kept their doors shut to customers. In the middle of them both, an employee of Pet Kraze told Eyewitness News that they have been unfairly blamed for the rat issue, despite not housing pets on-site. As moving trucks loaded up on Wednesday, that employee said that the store has been forced the leave the property permanently.

Others in the area believe that the problem actually originated when nearby construction pushed the rats in the direction of the shopping plaza.

A note on Staples’ door noted that they will be reopening at 8 a.m. on Friday and shoppers are hoping that the rodent issue is resolved.

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“I don’t like ’em. they’re not my pets!” said shopper Russ Woodland who arrived to find the store closed.

Calls placed to the property owner were not returned.

There is an ACME Grocery store within the same shopping plaza but Eyewitness News has been told that their site has not been impacted and they have and will remain open without issue.

Alexandria Hoff