Door-to-door alerts, of sorts: Suspicious sightings, + soliciting

October 16, 2009 at 9:00 am | In Door-to-door alert, West Seattle news | 16 Comments

Two alerts (and two quick mentions) to share this morning – not necessarily sellers, though (ADDED 3:13 PM – a solicitor report) – read on:

First, this note:

We are in Seaview, Raymond and 45th area [map]. We just had a male knock on our door asking to use one of our cell phones because his broke and he needed to contact someone. It was hard to hear with my dog barking and I could not see out the door. I told him I can’t open the door with the dog and sorry. He asked a couple times, but my dog made it pretty hard to hear. Could have been an honest attempt, but there are plenty of open businesses nearby he could have gone to.

Also from 45th SW, but further north:

A black man ~ 5’9″ tall, blue shirt with dark blue pants, black belt with silver “stud” decoration on it- going door to door- saw that I was home and kept going- went to my neighbour’s house up the driveway- quickly left when he saw the garage door open and voices in the backyard. I find this very suspicious because he was NOT soliciting – he avoided my house as soon as I opened the door unexpectedly (to let the dog in) and as soon as he realized my neighbors were home. Just called the nonemergent police line- initially the operator blew me off (mam, it’s not suspicious to have a man walk down the street- she insisted he may be a solicitor) Then i called back, spoke with a different operator who is sending a car out to patrol. There has been a LOT of midday activity in this neighborhood- Alaska/45th [map] – look out!

The subject of dispatchers came up again while we were talking with police yesterday – the dispatchers are NOT part of SPD, they are managed by the county, but local police leadership continues to talk with 911 management to make sure they’re on the same page regarding when to send police and when not to.

Last but not least, the two quick notes: One mention from North Admiral about a call to police requesting extra patrols after “a night and day of aggressive soliciting.” And we had a solicitor here in Upper Fauntleroy – forceful knocks on the door, which we don’t open if we aren’t sure who’s there; after asking through a nearby window what the person wanted, a male voice assured us up front he wasn’t selling magazines but was “from Gig Harbor.” We closed the window. Sorry, no description. As usual, here’s the link to door-to-door soliciting rules from the City of Seattle.

ADDED 3:13 PM: John just e-mailed this, so we’re adding to today’s roundup:

Approximately 2:45 , “LaFamilia” Organization representative, asking what a definition of success was. I told him I read about his organization in the newspaper and we were not interested. He then used several profanities and left, talking as he walked down the street.

Area, 44th Ave. SW and SW Myrtle
Time: 2;40 to 2: 45
Headed west on Myrtle, potentially south on Woodside
Black, approximately 5’8″, gold tie with biblical quotes, solid button down shirt, worn leather binder, forms.
Said his group was based in Gig Harbor.
No website found

3:42 PM: John wrote back to add:

This is the same type of thing we saw a few months ago. My daughter answered the door and I heard the conversation before I even saw the guy. I read an article the other day about this type of scam. I flat out told him that I didn’t believe what he was telling me. I was not interested in hearing his story, I just wanted him off my porch. Anyway, I did call 911 and requested someone to drive around the area. He would be the only door to door salesman in the area and should not be hard to spot. Again, if he was real there would be no need for the profanities that he used in front of my daughter.

Once again, this incident occurred at SW Myrtle and 44th Avenue SW. This is an exact repeat of a visit from last May, different young man. Also he claimed a website, but could not find anything.

16 Comments

  1. Maybe it’s time to make door-to-door solicitations completely illegal in the city of Seattle. What would be the harm? I’m not talking about neighbors knocking on neighbors doors to share information (like political canvassing). I’m talking about people knocking on doors to sell stuff. Girl scouts don’t even go door-to-door any more, they are smart enough to set up shop at the grocery store these days.

    Comment by KSJ — 10:02 am October 16, 2009 #

  2. I was just about to send in a warning about this activity myself. The same thing happened at our house on 49th and Raymond last night. My partner says the man actually walked around the house to our back yard and wanted to talk to him. After he was asked to leave, the man wanted to use our phone. After again being told no, he finally left. I would suggest anyone encountering the same thing to immediately call the police.

    Comment by Doug — 11:23 am October 16, 2009 #

  3. Actually, we had an aggressive political canvasser last night — he rang the doorbell, then opened the screen door to knock on the door, and when I finally opened the door, he tried to step in, when I stopped him. He assured me he was (mumble mumble), at which point I shut the door. And that’s the 36th Ave off Barton area, so not far from some others being bothered.

    As for the Girl Scouts, would YOU want to have your kid randomly knocking on doors? I wouldn’t.

    Comment by Eilis Flynn — 11:23 am October 16, 2009 #

  4. Anyone remember “A Clockwork Orange”?

    “Madam, there’s been a terrible accident. Me friend is bleedin’ in the middle o’ the road. Can I please use your phone!”

    Comment by JunctionMonkey — 12:55 pm October 16, 2009 #

  5. Gone are the days when as a child I wandered the neighborhood selling my ink-blot watercolor pictures to neighbors for a nickel. I was six or seven. I think I sold 5 – enough for candy at the local 7-11!
    Amazing how times have changed!

    Comment by MargL — 1:03 pm October 16, 2009 #

  6. A couple of days ago we had two girls knock on our door selling magazines. They seemed authentic and their cause noble. They were African American, polite, confident. We purchased a couple of susbscriptions and they left.
    End of the story.

    Comment by Mama o'four — 2:47 pm October 16, 2009 #

  7. I had a similar experience yesterday with a man that fits the same description in the note above. He said he was from ‘La Famiglia’ charity. I told him I was unable to assist and began closing the door and he got angry with me — “What, you don’t want to hear what I have to say?” I called the police.

    Comment by CEA — 3:11 pm October 16, 2009 #

  8. Even political canvassing door-to-door is sketchy. We had a woman come to our house last year before elections, and though she had a clipboard with her, and was wearing several pro-Obama pins, she kept looking around nervously, and insisted that we make a donation in cash. I had to tell her about 4 times that I had just lost my job before she was willing to go away. As far as I’m concerned, door-to-door anything is unnecessary – if I require a service or need something, I’ll find it on my own either online or in the neighborhood.

    Comment by Megan — 3:55 pm October 16, 2009 #

  9. I live at 45th and Graham and had two black males walking door to door yesterday afternoon. One would knock while the other looked in windows and mail boxes. They had no business license, no name tags or any type of ID at all, they were belligerent with the officers and refused to even give a name. So they were both arrested and hauled away. Another neighbor said they told her they were with LaFamilia…scary!! When I googled that name it came up as the Drug caratel of Mexico and also the magazine scam they are pulling. Be safe everyone and call 911 ASAP if they are on your property. There is a group being arrested on 49th Ave right now as I type this.

    Comment by Silly Goose — 4:03 pm October 16, 2009 #

  10. Very aggressive male knocked and rang our front doorbell. When I told him I wasn’t interested and to leave (from my kitchen door) he yelled, screamed profanity and started towards me. I called 911 with a description with him screaming at me as he left.
    45th and Henderson block at 3:30pm.
    Black male. Early 20′s. Yellow shirt, no coat. Blue and white knit cap.

    Comment by Kim — 4:14 pm October 16, 2009 #

  11. La Familia guy came to our house as well. No badge, or anything that says this organization is legit. or not. I have never heard of it.I told the guy not to come back and he kept asking when a good time would be to come back. It’s really scary when you are home by yourself and these people come to the door. I thought it was my husband at the door so I answered. We don’t have a peephole in the door nor can we see anyone from the window.

    Comment by Alison — 5:17 pm October 16, 2009 #

  12. The same La Familia guy came to our house on Fauntleroy this afternoon. I looked at this clipboard and flipped to the back page and realized it was magazine subscriptions. I politely told him I was not interested in getting any more magazines. As I closed the door he started yelling “You don’t want to listen to what I have to say!!! He was freaky.

    Comment by Brenda — 7:09 pm October 16, 2009 #

  13. We put a no soliciting sign on our door and thankfully people have been respectful and no one comes to the door. I agree that door to door should be illegal. I agree with the pp that it’s totally unnecessary and dangerous in this day and age.

    Comment by anon. — 7:41 pm October 16, 2009 #

  14. Annoying solicitor from Seattle Times who didn’t like the word no and started going on about supporting the community. Cut the discussion short when I pointed out that since I was sane and rational, Frank Blethen wasn’t part of my community.

    Comment by Eric — 1:30 am October 17, 2009 #

  15. do you really think that every door to door solicitor is bad? just because you’ve heard, read, saw some bad things doesn’t mean that we are all bad…..all we want is you to buy something…thats it! i dont like going into peoples houses because im allergic to EVERYTHING dogs cats candles cleaners….i dont want to rip anyone off because ive been selling magazines for 7 years….i knock on the same doors every year…the same people buy books from me in every city and state…….you people think that we are all out to get you….get real….id rather have quota, get laid, get drunk, and have fun….hurting a person that helped me out wouldnt make any sence….

    Comment by Genevieve — 12:53 pm October 17, 2009 #

  16. Genevieve,

    While all solicitors may not be bad I have personally had some very aggressive ones over the years. When I get anyone now, the first thing I do is take a picture of them at the door and ask for a license.

    A majority of them get mad and leave when I do this.

    One of the things that works in our neighborhood is with a bunch of people home during the day, we all watch for this type of activity and call each other and 911 if anything looks suspicious. Sorry, if you’re coming to my door, that’s the rules, deal with it.

    Comment by Pokey — 12:09 am October 21, 2009 #

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