2 door-to-door alerts: Selling or casing? Plus, “I live in Bellevue”

From the WSB inbox tonight, two encounters considered suspicious enough that those who had them wanted you to know about them. Read on:

First, from Charlie:

Just wanted to get the word out….
Definite casing 6000 block of 38th ave sw [map]
Young( 20s) light skin african american, claiming to be selling newspapers.
I tell him I’m not interested – he moves on.
Very slowly peers in the windows of the next two neighbors’ garages.
I notice he’s on the phone as he leaves the neighbor’s house.
Visits two more houses, then he’s out of sight.
I hop in my vehicle, he’s half way down the hill, walking fast, not stopping at any houses.

Dark green van comes up hill, OR plates 628S–, fat white guy driving.
Caser hops in van after “skipping” 12 houses.
They proceed back up 38th, left to 35th, South on 35th.
I did not pursue after that.

Second, from a resident who didn’t want to be identified:

Date: Thursday, April 8th, 2010
Time: 8:46 pm
Place: 57th Ave SW – Alki [map]

Man knocked on our door. When I opened the door he was hard to understand. He said, “he didn’t mean any disrespect. I live in Bellevue” then he started to pull out his wallet. It was a similar story to what I experienced living in Belltown with peddlers and con artists. I was polite, said “No, thank you. No, thank you” and shut the door. The person walked south on 57th Ave SW. Not sure if this incident is isolated, but thought I would share it just to be safe.

Description of person:
6′ tall, bald, black, male, wearing gray hooded sweatshirt and jeans, carrying a backpack.

18 Replies to "2 door-to-door alerts: Selling or casing? Plus, "I live in Bellevue""

  • ad April 8, 2010 (11:40 pm)

    why would he pull out his wallet and say he lives in Bellevue? I don’t get it…

  • JanS April 8, 2010 (11:49 pm)

    guess he thinks that makes him more legitimate – lol…you know those eastsiders are always a little more trustworthy and respectful…

  • Meghan April 9, 2010 (8:01 am)

    The “newspaper seller” scam is classic casing. It was common when I lived in Boston. After a few break-ins, the neighbors would often report that someone was selling newspapers door to door the previous week. People in that neighborhood should be on alert. This post may avert it though. If anyone else sees that van, report the license plate to the police immediately.

    I don’t get the “Bellevue guy” with the wallet scam. What is that about? Were you supposed to give him money to get back to Bellevue?

  • Anonymous April 9, 2010 (9:43 am)

    The “newspaper seller” came by our house (36th and Raymond) as well. Rang the doorbell twice and when I said we weren’t interested actually prodded a bit with something like “Seattle is the only major metropolitan area without a major newspaper.”

    He was very polite though. Glad Charlie got the license plate number.

    In the future I’m thinking of taking an iPhone photo of every solicitor that knocks on the door. “No big deal, it’s just in case you rob me later.” ;-)

  • pigeonmom April 9, 2010 (11:15 am)

    ” It was a similar story to what I experienced living in Belltown with peddlers and con artists.”

    Can you elaborate?

  • Wild Bill April 9, 2010 (11:39 am)

    I really like that idea of taking a picture of any solicitor who comes to your door. Thanks!

  • bleebah April 9, 2010 (11:54 am)

    I NEVER open my door to solicitors or strangers, no matter what. I talk to them through the door and I always have a phone in my hand as if I am talking to someone on the phone. I explain to the person at the door that I am in the middle of a phone conversation, then I excuse myself from my “phone” conversation by saying very LOUDLY “Hold on just a minute, someone is at the door” to talk with the person at the door, then I always tell the stranger at the door “We do not give donations or buy things at our home door — leave literature and I’ll review and decide later and perhaps contact you or your organization.” I’ve had too many weird experiences during my more naive days when I would hear anybody out, face to face, and sometimes even let them in my house. I NEVER do that anymore. Especially now that I am Mommy. I have greater respect now for the value of community banding together, neighbors looking out for neighbors, etc. Plus, if a person gets you to open the door even a hair, they can push their way in and do harm in a matter of seconds. Take a picture is good too, if you can do it w/o opening the door. No reason for people to hound us at our private residences these days — too little privacy in the city to begin with. Too many other avenues for people to get their donations or get support for their cause.

  • Dave April 9, 2010 (12:21 pm)

    I do the photo, it totally freaks them out, which is fun for me.

  • KBear April 9, 2010 (1:08 pm)

    Just don’t get your iPhone stolen while you’re snapping pictures.

  • wolfbain April 9, 2010 (1:27 pm)

    being a LOCAL yardguy I,ve done lots and lots of door to door flyers in our west seattle community and some rules i have for myself are,1. always stay on the walkways (never cut across yards).2,keep my nose straight ahead (never ever even glance toward a window).3, respect all signs i.e. keep out or no solicitors. 4,only during the day. 5,finish up my quota quickly and head to the junction for cold beer and pray for my phone to ring.

  • m April 9, 2010 (1:33 pm)

    Ha! that picture idea is gold. I’m using that one in the future.

  • AnneT April 9, 2010 (2:19 pm)

    Last Sunday I forgot to lock my car…few hours later found that all spare change missing, glovebox contents on floor and my invertor gone.

    Tuesday night driving down Edmunds saw 2 20-ish males walking up the street for some funny reason I decided to circle the block only to find my neighboor giving case to them after they came and kicked on their front door with 2 other helpers hiding behid their fence.

    Neighboors called for police assistance.

    So now we are all having the SPD for our first Blockwatch meeting.

    After 6 car break in’s and the neighboors house robbed…I have had it.

    I plan to paint a pretty direct sign and place it in my gnome garden ( if it too doesent get stollen).

    Gnome body wants to buy anything here.
    SMILE Your on Video.
    Guard Cat on duty.
    Knomes carry guns.

  • ad April 9, 2010 (4:27 pm)


    Cute idea. I’m going to make a sign for my house too. :)

    And sorry to make this correction as it may have been a mistake, I have to say…

    It should say “Smile, you’re on video.”

    Not your, you’re. :)

  • KB April 9, 2010 (6:32 pm)

    A couple of nights ago I noticed a couple of guys in a small maroon Toyota pickup truck scavenging for scrap metal in our alley near 36th and Holley St in the Gatewood neighborhood. They were loading up my neighbor’s barbeque. I confronted them and asked them what they were doing and if they had permission to take it and they said it was OK, it was just sitting in the street (which it wasn’t). I told him he couldn’t take it without asking. He played dumb. I took his picture with my iPhone…got him, his partner, and his license plate number. In the end he went to my neighbor’s door and obtained permission. If anyone is missing anything speak up. I might know where to find it.

  • LyndaB April 9, 2010 (10:41 pm)


    i read your “SMILE Your on Video” as “SMILE on YOUR video”. lol

  • Daniel April 10, 2010 (5:39 pm)

    My parent’s house got robbed on 31st and Juneau while they were away. We suspect that our house was “cased” and they made several trips robbing the house. On the night of the discovery, we saw a white pickup truck, with a decal design on the side, slowly drive back and worth looking at us while we were standing outside. We confirmed with neighbors that these were the people who robbed our house in broad daylight because they figured we had hired someone to help us move. We filed a report with police.

    This type of casing happened where I live, near 17th Ave SW, near SCCC. Three young males got out of a car, knocked on our door and asked if “Kelly” lived here. Low and behold, our neighbor down the street got robbed. We need to keep a better eye on these types of incidents and let our neighbors know about them.

  • Kelly K April 10, 2010 (9:23 pm)

    A guy selling the Seattle Times (something about helping the kid who has this route, and “helping to save the Seattle Times”) came by our house at 32nd and Thistle a few nights ago. He started talking before I’d even opened the screen door and when I said “no thanks” he was out of there like a shot. White guy, round face. I didn’t think to keep an eye on him but I wish I had.

  • Mr. smith April 11, 2010 (3:35 pm)

    59th ave sw
    I always lock my car to, last week i left it unlocked, 1 night, and same thing as alot of other people on here , any thing of value was gone and the glove box was emptied out, that leads me to think there is people going around looking for easy scores on a pretty regular basis. So dont be scared to call the cops, thats what they are here for!!

Sorry, comment time is over.