Police warning of solicitors illegally targeting neighborhoods

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The Chesterfield Police Department is issuing a warning to people living in the north western part of the county. Corporal Scott Gordon, a crime prevention officer for the department said solicitors are targeting these communities: Woodlake, Deer Run, Hampton Park and Brandermill. Police said anytime a salesman comes to your door they must have a permit.

But Rich Cavanaugh, who lives in Brandermill, won't even give door-to-door salesmen the time of day.

"Anyone who's come to the door, it's usually leave me your card," said Cavanaugh as he held open his storm door to speak with NBC12 Thursday morning.

When there's a knock at the door his locked glass door and a large barking dog are his protection.

"Unfortunately you can't let your guard down, ever," warned Cavanaugh.

Police want you to be on alert for people who should not be in your neighborhood.

"If you don't know who's at your front door don't answer it and please call the police so that we can check them out and make sure they are legitimate," said Corporal Scott Gordon.

Police are tracking an uptick in illegal door-to-door sales.

"A lot of them are coming through and they're not taking no for an answer or simply they shouldn't be there," said Gordon. "They don't have the right permits. Their business maybe illegitimate to begin with."

In the last two years police arrested one person for soliciting without a permit. But so far this year there have been 11 arrests. And what makes people more frightened, some of the people arrested were wanted for other crimes.

Ann Cifelli is a little worried after hearing about the arrests. She said she will peak through her window or pretend she's not home if she doesn't recognize the person knocking on her door.

But if she does answer, she said she will now ask to see a solicitor's permit. The Chesterfield Police Department issues the 30-day or one-year permits after the applicant passes a background check and is finger-printed. Non-profit organizations and religious groups don't need the permits to go door-to-door, but they do need to carry identification.

Officer Gordon suggests you invest in a no soliciting sign. "They can post their premises, either at their front door or their mailbox, with a no soliciting sign. And if these solicitors don't heed that, they can be charged with trespassing."

For more information on the Chesterfield County Police Department permit process:

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