Ashland Police warn residents to protect themselves

HANOVER, VA (WBBT) - Police want people living in Ashland to know that even though some solicitors are legitimate business people who can show you a proper permit, no one should be inviting themselves into your home.

"You just always need to be aware of who's at your door: if they are legitimate, if they have signs on their trucks, who else they have with them," said Lt. James Shelhorse with the Ashland Police Department.

We cover these types of stories all the time, and one thing is clear, crooks are always coming up with new methods. In November 2009, people claiming to be from the Salvation Army Angel Tree program targeted Henrico neighborhoods searching for victims and their money. Earlier that year, a similar situation in Richmond when people claiming to collect supplies and money for a nearby school hit up the Bellevue community. We spoke then with wary but savvy neighbors.

"We quite often get people to come by like that, and I try to be careful about it," said Chris Kirby, who lives in Bellevue.

But some people aren't careful enough. This past January, we featured the story of Jessie Beverly who was duped out of nearly $3,000 after trusting a man who showed up at her door looking to sell gravel. She got the product, but for a price she couldn't afford.

"He said it was $3,800, but I'll give you a senior discount. I said I don't have that kind of money," said Jessie.

It's these types of situations that Ashland Police want to prevent. Though no police report was filed, police heard from folks in the community that people were going door to door and asking to come inside to use a computer so they could showcase their products, services or prices online. It sent up a scary red flag.

"They may try to find a way to get into your house or distract you, and we just want everyone to know that is not acceptable; don't let anybody into your house," said Shelhorse.

In most places, including the town of Ashland and in Hanover County, solicitors are required to get a permit and or license, and you should ask to see it. The application process includes a criminal background check.

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